3.22 – The Test

Location: Kagor
Timeline: Sixth Age of Substance, 46th Year, Spring

Keldar – The Supreme Overlord of the West; Keldar – my pawn? I knew the former was true, it was time to make the latter the same.

Everyone on TerrVerde feared Keldar or at least the legends about him. He’d destroyed all his rival myz. He’d conquered Gor, Dim Wood, and Kra – enslaving entire populations in the process. He was a major threat to the Drrukka of the Rhokii’s and the people in Eastern TerrVerde lived in constant fear of what might happen if Keldar’s armies ever crossed the mid-continent mountains. For all these reasons and more, Keldar was the most feared bogeyman for any mortal who’d lived on TerrVerde during the last forty years.

And yet, for all his accomplishments, to record Keldar’s reign accurately, any history book worth its weight in salt would have placed an asterix by his name. Why? Because Keldar had it easy – recall that I was down in Illusia for the past century and Gwar had been on the continent of Ur since the Last Great War fiasco (1). As a result, Keldar’s rise to power had met with no resistance from any ‘higher’ authority (2).

Yes, one could argue that Keldar should have been given credit for recognizing the opportunity Destiny offered (3), but the facts are the facts and no one with any intelligence could deny that without an immortal to answer to, Keldar had been without challenge, his reign unfettered.

In fact Keldar himself was knew this to be true.

Had Zar been here, he’d have inspired factions to rebel against me. The Supreme Overlord let the thought pass through his mind as he sat in his throne and gnawed on the femur of freshly killed bull. I don’t know where Zar is and don’t care. May my creator never return! (4)

As the king continued to make a mess by eating with such poor table manners, I forced myself to overcome my disgust and observe Keldar in all his glory as he held court in Zar’s Keep. The Overlord wore no crown, carried no scepter, and his simple wooden throne was without ostentation – yet Keldar was an intimidating presence nonetheless (5).

Although I’d designed the Myz species to be huge physical specimens (the typical myz stood over seven feet tall and weigh more than 25 stones), Keldar was a giant even among his own kind (6). With muscles bulging below the surface of his dusky gray skin, The Overlord was two hands taller and many stones bigger than most of his rivals. While most of his knights wore the Myz’ trademark black armor, Keldar sat on his throne without armor and sans shirt – letting his massive chest bear an animal-kingdom witness to his stake as ruler. At ease upon the royal dais, with black leather breeks doing their best to contain the rippling muscles of his legs, the only symbol of power that Keldar displayed was a silver sword leaning against his throne — the weapon given to him by Zar – a gift from the God of War for a favor Keldar had performed in his distant youth.

Although I wasn’t aware why Zar had given Keldar the sword, I knew all about the blade itself. Although it was but a typical two handed broad-sword, devoid of any devices or gem encrustations, still it had been cast in silver metal — giving it an almost blinding brilliance, especially when it caught the light. Yet this flashiness wasn’t what impressed me, instead it was the fact that this blade was imbued with magic — specifically a quality that doubled the amount of force used by its wielder (7). The end result was that, for an already powerful warrior like Keldar, no opponent stood a chance against him – with such a weapon Keldar could (and often had) hack an opponent in half, armor and all – a gruesome ability that likely only added to his feared reputation over the decades.

“Get me more of this carcass.” Keldar called to a servant. “And a goblet of bull’s blood too!” Then to himself he mused, Would that The Shaitan stay gone and there will be none to spoil my plans. (8)

Two advisors (humans) stood before The Overlord, advising him about some problem in The Dim Wood Forest; Keldar barely listened, up to his eyes in raw beef. I need action! Something to get my blood racing again.

Besides his counselors, multiple fire pits, and a thirty seat slab of meeting table off to the right (now empty), Keldar’s throne room was otherwise bare – but for two black armored myz stationed at the main doorway about hundred feet to the fore and two more at each of the two rear doors leading to the remainder of the kastle.

As the men prattled on, Lord Keldar brooded — it was not a pretty sight. His melon head was topped with a mound of jet black hair and his black eyes were a bit too large, swallowing all that he surveyed. With a flat nose and a red gash of a mouth, no one would have considered Keldar beautiful (9), but if nothing else they feared the sight of him. 

“…and that, my lord, is why we must—“ seeing the wicked visage of their lord’s face, the advisor hesitated, finally squeaking out, “Sire?”

Silence was the only reply – as the fire pits continued belching smoke towards the already sooty roof of this chamber.

With the men too afraid to speak, it was the lack of cacophony from their voices that finally snapped Keldar out of his daydream.

“Do what you think is best.” Keldar grumbled. “Now be gone!”

The advisors scurried away – all to happy to live another day (10).

When The Supreme Overlord was back in his private quarters, ready to put an end to another tired day of doing nothing, then it was that the time seemed right to grace Keldar with something a bit more exciting – a visit from me!

Appearing via a vision, I showcase my most ghoulish self to the myz ruler – my primeval skeleton covered by robes so black they seemed to suck at the light from Keldar’s torches and with the hood of my garment shrouding my skull, only the fires of my eyes showed from the void where my face should have been. It was enough.

“My Lord!” Keldar jumped out of bed. “What are you doing here?”

“Maybe I should be asking you the same question, Keldar.” I gave the whisper of a reply, forcing the myz to draw closer to me to hear.

Confused, Keldar didn’t immediately answer – clearly trying to process the situation. That’s when I saw him do something rather interesting – regaining his composure, Keldar seemed to realized that he was no longer the common myz he’d been when I first created him (11). With back ram rod straight, Keldar sat back down on his bed (12), apparently trying to show he was confident to face off against even an immortal – although I couldn’t help but smile when I saw him unconsciously put his sword closer. Only then did he respond, “I don’t understand your question, Shaitan. In the event you are not aware, I am now The Supreme Overlord of the West. I have united Kagor, Gor, and… even,” here paused, before powering on, “your old kingdom Kra… into one kingdom – MY kingdom. In the years to come I will conquer the rest of the continent as well.”

“And I am so impressed.” I replied sarcastically. “In any event, I will need you to interrupt your own plans and perform a task for me.”

“What would you have me do that is more important than that which Zar has charged me with?” Keldar hand gripped this sword, clearly he wasn’t used to being talked down to and the deep breaths he began sucking in communicated this to me better than any words as his anger began causing striations in the muscles of his chest and arms.

I chuckled his stupidity, “Lord Keldar, yours is not to question why, yours is but to do or die. Remember that now.”

“Just what would you have me do?” Keldar grated, his chest still heaving.

“Two things. First, I need to know what you know about an object of mine that I seemed to have… misplaced.”

“What is it and what makes you think I would have it?” Keldar’s curiosity seemed to calm his anger – apparently he wasn’t capable of holding two thoughts at once.

“A common dagger it is. I value it more for sentimental reasons than anything else, for I use it in my… experiments.” I lied.

“We have lots of daggers,” The Overlord said cautiously, clearly not buying my story, “I can arrange for you to—“

“No, that’s all right,” I interrupted. “The one I seek is rather unique. No special power, mind you, just unusual-looking in the manner I made it. Specifically, it’s a blade made of bone – twisted bone. All one piece with the hilt an extension of the handle-blade bone that juts out at opposing angles to form an upside down ‘V’.  The blade itself is a corkscrew spiral of bone that twists its way in width, from the size of a fist, down through its coils, to an almost invisible tip. Are you following all this? It’s unique. You’d know it if you’d seen it. And just to be clear, the weapon is obviously not practical for use in combat, but for me…it has its purpose.”

“Never heard of it.” Keldar was quick to reply – perhaps a bit too quick, given that I seemed to catch a matter of fact tone that seemed a bit too guarded for me (or was I just imagining that).

Did I just reveal too much, I wondered. Keldar sat there, staring at me, and it sure seemed that he was wondering why I – an ultra powerful immortal – would question him on an obvious Weapon of Power. Did he understood the ramifications of the situation?

I’d just taken the plunge to risk explaining exactly what I was seeking and after having my inquiry dismissed so insolently, I wasn’t happy. Letting the green of my eyes glow, I cracked the bones in my jaw a bit as I grated my teeth. Peering hard at Keldar, I looked into his soul.

The myz just sat there – taking it all – staring back at me boldly (too boldly!)

I hated to lose the power struggle, but I didn’t have time to play games, thus I broke the silence. “And number two,” I moved to the next subject, determined not to utter another word about Dagaal, lest Keldar speak of it to Zar. “I’m pleased to see that you’ve gained so much experience in dealing with humans (13). The work you’ve done in Gor and Kra has been… noted. Yet I’d like to challenge you to do more than just muscle a few men into performing your slave labors; instead I’d like to see if you can send some of your most trusted myz to infiltrate the cities of The East – where our influence has not yet reached. My plan is to…”

Like a lap dog seeking treats, Keldar ate my every word.

Nektar’s Notes

  1. As for Inanna, the last anyone had heard or seen her, she’d been in Ramos, but as to what she was doing there (or if she was even there), I was sadly in the dark.
  2. And recall, that one reason no other myz had successfully held the title of Supreme Overlord of Kagor (much less The West), was because Gwar (overtly) and myself (covertly) often inspired the strongest myz to continually challenge each other. This kept any single myz’ hold on the Kagor throne tenuous (at best) and short-lived (at most).
  3. And it sure feels to me like I am giving the myz his due – after all I’ve already spent an entire chapter praising him and we’re starting another focused on him too. That sure seems like plenty to me!
  4. Wondering how I know Keldar’s thoughts? Did you forget that I already explained this in Book II? During the time of this story, I had the power to cast my psyche outwards to <hear> the mind of specific individuals who had a penchant for the dark side. Keldar fit that bill in spades and his mind opened to my call with ease.
  5. To other mortals that is. To me, he looked like a bit of a fool sitting up there – a throne is no place for a myz when there are battles to be fought.
  6. I don’t recall when I actually recall when I cloned Keldar, but I’m sure I had my reasons for making him so big at the time.
  7. It was a spell that I had cast upon the blade at the request of Gwar back when he made the stupid thing. He’d been so excited about it and wouldn’t stop talking about it that I agreed to give him the magic – if only to shut him up about it.
  8. Well now, that’s an interesting thought, Keldar. It’s funny you should bring me up…
  9. Not even me his creator – but then again, I never made any of the myz with the thought of beauty in mind.
  10. Something that was no easy feat – given that the life expectancy of those who previously held this NOT coveted job was less than a year at best.
  11. Well, the fool has some backbone, doesn’t he? That should make for an interesting meeting.
  12. An insult I won’t soon forget.
  13. I lied – for I wasn’t happy about this fact at all!
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