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.

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