And so it was that The War of the Ghast came to an end — however are story was just beginning.
Oh sure, there are some loose ends to tie up and these may perhaps interest you. First off, The Drokka Kroniklz noted the end of this war as the key event that marked The Second Age of Mittengarten. The price of the war was heavy indeed — so terrible was the wrath of the Myz that the Kroniklz estimated that, of the 350,000 slain Drokka warriors, fully two-thirds of them had been slaughtered by the Myz during the final five years of battle – an almost incomprehensible fact considering the crude hand-to-hand weapons of this age (1).
Hacktor made war because he wanted to be remembered as the Kon-Herr who changed the face of history for his people — for The Spirit of The Well had promised him as much. Although he perished in the endeavor, it should be noted that The Spirit did grant his wish. Oh sure, things didn’t quite work out as Hacktor had envisioned, but that’s not the point. The fact is that after Hacktor’s war, the Drokka’s society was forever changed — for the worse. After losing so many troops in the war, many of the passageways of their once thriving kingdoms began to ring hollow and empty — for there was simply no one left to walk in them. In addition, with so much the men forced to engage in combat during Hacktor’s reign when many of their older craftsmen passed away their knowledge died with them — prized secrets from those such a Hef Fastuz and others like him was thus lost to future generations, and yea even the world. Soon the Drokka civilization began to decline — for as it turned out Hacktor’s war was a fateful blow that their race would never recover from — at no time in the future would their people ever reach the greatness they had once known prior to Hacktor’s rule.
In fact, in the locale that saw the most fighting – the area in an around the former kingdom of Oz — so many warriors had perished, and the spilt blood of both sides had for so long stained the surrounding hillsides, that the stone itself was burned a crimson red – a color that the rocks of that place still bear to this very day!
Thankfully for the Drokka, Gwar and his armies didn’t take advantage of the Drokka’s weaknesses — for they too needed time to recover. You already know that Gwar was preoccupied with chasing after the goddess Mezmeriza. As for the Myz and the Derk, they too had suffered greatly. Having turned my own attention to other matters, it had been years since I’d cloned any more Myz — what few that survived the war, chose to make their way to Kagor — for they’d heard legends from the Derkka that Gwar’s home was on that island and they wanted to continue their training under their ‘father’ god (2). Although Gwar was nowhere to be found initially, the Myz remained upon Kagor — for centuries they were lost to history, yet while others may have forgotten about them, they thrived on that desolate island. It was on Kagor that the Myz built their accursed kastles and cruel killing fields. It was on Kagor that the Myz readied themselves for the next great battle – whenever it may be.
As for the Derk, the arch-rivals of the Drokka, the one-time million-head population of their people had been so savagely whittled down by Hackor and his men that less one-fifth of them remained! The Parliament was disbanded, the skin trade crumbled, and despite their fast reproduction rates, it took them centuries to recover as well. But with the help of their loving god Baal, they would return to the world stage in full force in the future (3).
In the end, Hacktor Derkillez’s War of The Ghast proved to be little more than just another span of history in which very little was accomplished except for the mass killing of humanity (4). Blackwood Forest was completely destroyed (the supposed reason for the war), men and women on both sides were murdered, families torn apart, and entire towns were wiped off the map. Oh sure, a select few profited from these events — Monty Redstone became fabulously wealthy and bought the kingdoms of Kel-de-Kaba and Al-Uzza for a song – installing himself as Kon-Herr of those lands. Meanwhile, Queen Hecla became the first Kon-Herra of the Drokka – using this time of peace to rebuild her people to the extent possible and protecting their survival. In an ironic twist of fate, whilst Scribes of Chaldea certainly ‘adjusted’ history to make The Kroniklz appear as kind as possible to the memory of Hacktor Derkillez (for Hecla demanded as much), it was not Hacktor, but instead Hecla who became known as one of the all-time great royals of the Drokka (5).
So what happened to The Ghast?
Surely you know that Hekubuz didn’t end up with it, right? Obviously, you realize I put her up to that little ‘dance’ with Gwar — having empowered her with a special magic that allowed her to transform herself for a time into the appearance of Mezmeriza (6).
Thus it was that Hekubuz stole The Ghast from Gwar, and gave it to me. I happily paid her for her efforts and then sent her packing.
For I had my own agenda to attend to.
Yes, yes, I was backed up on a bunch of death communals that could perhaps give me information about Dagaal, but now that I had my hands on The Ghast, the bone dagger took a back seat. Dagaal was a potential, The Ghast was here and now! As such I wanted to understand it – such a god-killing weapon as this — one that I now knew had not just my own magic in it’s blade but also that of my rivals Rhokii and Myndoz — why such a blade could, perhaps, just perhaps, be useful to me.
I took The Ghast into my most secret labs — and there did I endeavor to study it. Making numerous precautions to protect myself, I was prepared to devote centuries, nay millennia if necessary, to unlocking its secrets — for I even as I held the haft, I could feel the <power> oozing from this glorious weapon!
“The secrets of Life, The Universe, and Everything will be mine!” I cackled in delight.
But then I unsheathed the blade — and forget all my precautions.
“By Baal, you’re beautiful.” I gasped, mesmerized by the aura of the weapon. I could smell its power and taste the ability of what was clearly a killing machine. Suddenly drunk with power, I raised The Ghast on high, honoring the weapon as I began an arcane ritual to marry The Ghast’s soul to my own.
Yet then, in a moment of hungry desire, I did the unthinkable – unable to stop myself, I raised a bony fingertip and ever so lovingly touched the blade itself!
Instantly (yet only too late) did I realize my mistaken — for The Ghast send a shock rocketing through my osteel anatomy. The volcano that was Nektar’s Cauldron began to grumble in revolt as I shrieked in terror — for I felt a soul-sucking drain on my <hellifre>!
“I’m going to die.” I fell to the ground, writhing in pain. “I’m going to die!”
Then it was that the stones of my laboratory floor began to split and soon a great chasm opened beneath me. Powerless to resist, I was sucked into the abyss, along with The Ghast!
For a full century, I fell — trying to avoid The Ghast in the darkness, agonizing the entire time.
In fact, I fell all the way to Illusia – where Baal-Zebub was only too surprised to see me.
Thankfully I did not die — which is no small saying — for in spite of my ‘gift’ of The Ghast, BZ made me pay a dreadful price for his ‘gift’ of replacing my <hellfire> early and the century I spent groveling at his feet felt like an eternity on this occasions. (7)
Eventually I got back to Terra — immediately setting my sights on a new prize – The Grim — little knowing this quest would change my life forever (8).
And so it is that we come to the end of this tale. Although there is one little tidbit I’m supposed to share with you.
Because of my ‘connection’ to Hacktor, I was privy to his thoughts even after he died. These then were his last words — an epitaph he wailed to his people from the afterlife — one they sadly never heard.
My Brothers! My Brothers!
Hear me, Oh My Brothers!
My horror is only just beginning.
My chance to reach the afterlife is gone.
Never will I reach Kawkawzuz to fight again.
Forever am I trapped in Mittengarten to answer for my crimes.
Unless YOU can release me.
Unless YOU will learn from my mistakes.
I made war for the wrong reasons.
I wanted to change the face of history.
I thought I had a weapon which would make me invincible.
I thought I had a weapon that would ‘win’ at War.
I was wrong.
I see now that I could never ‘win’ at War.
Strike that – YOU can.
War can be defeated…
If you refuse to fight him.
Brother, Oh Brothers, hear me now.
If you continue to make war,
None of your Ghastly weapons will save you,
And only a Grim future will remain…
- Outside of Hacktor’s Ghast, a true weapon of mass destruction would not be seen again by your world until the ‘lucky’ citizens of Hiroshima experienced one first hand – thanks to my friend Harry Truman – that man and his A-Bomb sent more souls to me in one day than I’d ever acquired before. But just to be clear, who do you think gave his scientists the idea for that WOMD in the first place?
- Some father Gwar made for ‘his’ Myz – all the ever did was get them killed. Where’s MY thanks – I’m the one who made them?!?
- Hey, I can be a nice guy sometimes. Plus I still had plans for my loyal Derks.
- Doesn’t that pretty much sum up ALL your wars?
- I told you to keep your eye on Hecla, I always knew she was going places.
- Interestingly enough this took a lot of convincing on my part — for Hekubuz Hated (yes, with a capital H!) Mezmeriza – they had a long history of dislike that spanned back all the way to their time in Illusia before The Great Fall. It was one of my greatest persuasions to convince Hekubuz to disguise herself as her hated rival — and I paid a heavy price for the bargain. In exchange for Hekubuz securing The Ghast for me, I agreed to give her the land of Ramos and also created a new breed of men for her – The Serpens. This would come back to haunt me later, but that was still centuries away.
- You thought Lucifer might be grateful for my gift? Ha, you clearly don’t know the Dark Prince!
- What happened with The Grim? Alas, my friend, that’s a tale for the next book.
- Isn’t that cute? Hacktor is trying to atone for his crimes. Little did he know his words would fall on deaf ears — for rather than listen to Hacktor’s wisdom, you people would instead devise ever greater weapons – always inventing new ways to kill each other and letting your greed feed your lust of power for millennia to come. It was beautiful! I should be thanking you – you’ve kept me in business all these years!