Friday, February 27, 2015

The Boy Who Burned the World-09

Word of this quest could not be kept down for long, and with it came the inevitable spread of that word to the former Chester Lame. He could not openly move against this, due to the implications of such action would have with his demonic subordinates, but he was far from helpless. Using a secret technique he ripped from the souls of rivals long dead, he conjured forth the spirits of the unquiet dead and bound them to his will; by means of these loyal thralls, he sought the band of would-be revelators.

The questors, however, were no ignorant bunch and had means and knowledge of their own of such powers. Speaking to the dead proved most reliable, if properly approached, and much useful intelligence on where to go and what to do look for came from the shades of the dead who formerly lived as investigators and agents of various government bodies. Through them, they learned of the use of necromancy to seek them out and--they presumed--destroy them.

The cat-and-mouse game went on for months across the world, with the questors getting warned before the spectral bloodhounds could catch up to them and thus give them time to confuse the pursuers and make good their escape. Soon Lame--Cygnus, Trogdor--devised a way to spin the development to his demon hordes, and that shifted the balance into his favor. Knowing his demons could react faster than the slaves and thralls that otherwise kept the population in line, he pressed hard and forced the questors into fight and fighter- and now, instead of cursing their escapes, he played on them in hopes of putting together a useful map of their routes taken, and therefore how close they were to the truth.

The questors, for their part, soon came to sense that they were now being batted about like toys before the kill. No fools they, the quartet lost no time in deducing the reason for their apparent escapes, and which this in mind they set about escalating their obfuscation tactics while they devised a counter-strategy. This worked to some degree, letting them gain further ground, but it cost them time in traveling to the next location; soon they realized that maintaining this would require changing which location they visit and when.

Having no other choice, they did just that; they began deliberately planting misinformation and disinformation into the populations that they met, knowing that it would be passed on. Now they too wanted to devise a way to discern what the enemy's mind was at, and that too meant tricking the enemy into doing or going something/somewhere other than what was intended. As the shifts in operational results went on, the matter became a war of wit, a four-on-one affair and winner takes all.

And the former Chester Lame, of all things, was ever first and foremost one very competitive player.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Boy Who Burned the World-08

Trogdor burned the countryside. Trogdor burned the people. Trogdor burned the resistance cells that attacked him. Taking up a lead-from-the-front position, he turned his skills as an insurgent into a devastating counter-insurgency campaign leader. Terror swept the world as graphic depictions of futile resistance promulgated world-wide with the erection of a demon-controlled communications network, announcing victories and exterminations as they occurred.

It was at this point that a very dangerous, and seeming foolish, handful of canny survivors embarked on a quiet quest. One of them, formerly an investigative reporter and historian, took to monitoring the demon media campaign along with a propaganda expert with a psychology background; the pair noticed an obvious pattern in the propaganda, centering around the way Lord Cygnus--whom they still call "Trogdor" in the survivor and the slave populations--presents himself and frames the propaganda narrative that they looked at each other and said the following:

"Overcompensating, isn't he?"

"I sense a severe 'Revenge of the Nerds' vibe here."

"I bet he was abused as a child, and this is his revenge."

"Then let's expose him. I bet his demon friends would appreciate being ruled by a runt of a punk kid."

The pair got a couple of good friends, trustworthy men, to go with them and they began an underground quest across the ruined world seeking the evidence of Trogdor's pathetic origins. Through the ruins of libraries, offices, archives, and more they scoured as quietly as they could; to cover their tracks, they passed over other helpful information--farming, herbalism, hunting, skinning, etc.--to the peoples they encountered as a way to both obscure their real objective as well as to buy their silence (if they knew more than was good for them).

It was a day or so out from the last such stop--a ruined FBI field office--that revealed the first hint of their thesis being true: a report by a now-deceased agent about a criminally anti-social boy, and the abuse and neglect that bent him that way.

"We have a candidate: Chester Lame."

"Let's trace this kid and see if he's Trogdor."

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Boy Who Burned the World-07

As was once said, bad news travels around the world before good news tied its shoes.

It took longer than it did previously, due to the collapse of the Internet (along with the destruction of civilization world-wide), but the host of demons--as the survivors could no longer afford to delude themselves otherwise--and the thralls of men who either willingly turned traitor or got enslaved by them ranged further afield to finish the job they ran into resistance. At first this was effectively only against the thralls, as the demons remained immune to what the survivors could employ against them, but those thralls revealed the truth of Lord Cygnus' transformation into a demonic draconian- and installation as the king of this world.

As for the demons, they saw the subjugation of this world--as with many others--as sport, not war, and laughed as they slaughtered the resistance fighters with aplomb in the months immediately after their victory. Then word came that some survivors killed a minor demon by ambush. Then they ambushed a group and wiped them out. Then another survived an ambush and reported that some of them have learned how to use their powers, and they are adapting that knowledge to their own use. Then a major demon died in single combat against an empowered survivor, and Lord Cygnus could not let this be handled by underlings alone any longer.

Lord Cygnus, long an underdog accustomed to guerilla warfare, immediately upbraided his underlings for their incompetence. He analyzed their reports, told them where they went wrong (and why), and briefed them on how to handle the matter. This would have gone badly, had Lord Cygnus not whipped them into line with his iron will beating them into submission.

Meanwhile, the survivors began linking up in a recreation of the Internet of old. No sooner did this happen than some of the black humor returned and turned its barbs against the traitor-master. Knowing that Lord Cygnus was now a humanoid dragon, they began to mock him as "Trogdor the Burninator", and this mockery slipped into the slave pens where some people were allowed to live to satisfy the demands of their demon overlords. When this reached Cygnus, he embraced it.

"Very well then. If they mock me so, then I shall show them the terror in their object of scorn and be the very scourge that they proclaim. Fools!"

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Boy Who Burned the World-06

The chaos that erupted was the signal that the boy, now thinking of himself as Lord Cygnus, gave to his inhuman patron. As open warfare consumed the great cities of the world, as guerilla warfare ripped apart gendarmes and soldiers as well as partisans across the countrysides and wildernesses, a turbulent Lord Cygnus made his way to New York City by means of his magical powers and emerged atop the new World Trade Tower. There he sacrificed a hapless grandson of a Senator he'd imprisoned previously to power a ritual conducted on December 21st of the year, and as the winter winds and snow blew about him he completed the great task he so longed for.

"Great Incinerator! Come forth, deploy your legions, and bring the lie of all time to an end."

Meteors appeared out of nowhere in the sky, raining down in numbers uncountable, and Cygnus--for the first time in his life--laughed as he saw what was the invasion of the world by his master's minions. The meteors crashed through the massive skyscrapers, showering the streets below with more debris than already littered Manhattan due to the ongoing fighting, and plowed through the streets into the subway tunnels below. There the rocky remains arose and formed into giant-sized humanoid filled with flame and radiating forge-like heat and attacked whatever its alien eyes glanced at. The fighting shifted to the new, alien threat and the media coverage--such as it was--ensured that the small section not actively engaged in some form of civil warfare got engrossed with the carnage caused by this new threat.

In the waning hours before the modern world shattered and collapsed, Internet fandom of Lord Cygnus reached its peak and revealed its insanity as a true cult devoting to something destructive and inhuman. The praise for the rain of fire and the massive death and destruction could not be shut up and so the remaining Internet administrators and technicians cut and ran instead of confronting this insanity. Few escaped the cities, and fewer endured much longer than that due to a lack of planning and awareness of the situation. This same fate befell many more who attempted to flee the cities of the world, and the presence of Mankind on the face of the world burned up much like the civilization that they so took for granted.

Once the burning, the genocide, and the suffering of the Rain of Fire (as it would be called) subsided Lord Cygnus stood before the giant-sized alien who mentored him all these years.

"Lord Cygnus, let it be known that I am a master who rewards loyalty and appreciates the effort of his subordinates. You have done as I asked, and without question or hesitation. Come, take your reward."

The alien held forth a goblet filled with a glowing viscous fluid. The boy now known as Lord Cygnus took it with both hands, and without so much as a hint of hesitation he beamed with joy and quaffed it down.

"You belong amongst us." his master said as he collapsed to the floor and convulsed violently. His body reshaped itself once more, growing taller and larger, his eyes taking on a sickly green hue and leathery wings erupting from his back at the shoulderblade. His fingers and toes shaped into talons, and his face took on angular aspects. A green aura, flickering like flame, emanated about his person. Teeth shaped themselves into canine incisors and his tongue forked like a serpent. His hair burned off utterly, and his flesh hardened into a scaly flesh.

"Rise, Lord Cygnus. Rise, Chosen of the Great Incinerator."

The last remnants of Chester Lame died in those horrific, painful moments of transformation. Only Lord Cyngus, now revealed in his true form, remained, Cygnus the Dragon- king of the new world.