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Made by SilveKnight who is so totally not me

 

 

Citizen Richard

Richard was not one to indulge in self-righteous indignation often; he of all people knew that he was anything but righteous.  However, this demon--this lesser creature that dared to attempt to oust his inner workings for something other than the random acts of violence that they were--treaded on deadly territory.  The warlock was not a man to be toyed with.  Many fools had learned that over the centuries, human and otherwise, and none survived to tell the tale.

This...Chicken Little would be no different.  None would be spared his torment.

Not that he ever spared people his torment, of course.  Perish the thought.

With a flourish and a witticism, he activated his ace in the hole--a gem from time forgotten that housed a reliquary of magic, thankfully separate from his own.  'Ah,' he thought with a grim smirk, 'the lovely Judge hadn't counted on that, had he?'  The aura exploded from its crystal confines, filling his bloodless veins with a magic foreign to him; it felt hot and sharp like a bolt of lightning, tingling in his dead nerves as he spared half a second to adjust.

The confines of his deplorable orange jumpsuit burst into rags simply because he willed it to happen.  The sorcery locked within his amulet was a potent brand, fierce and unforgiving to those who could not channel the raging torrent of the elements swiftly and efficiently.  A part of him almost wanted to thank the Phares for unwittingly allowing him this moment of triumph--without their hijacking his body to do Cale's bidding, he may have truly been without recourse in this horridly boring plane.  Such was the way of irony, and irony did indeed seem to adore Richard.

He couldn't say for certain that the feeling was reciprocated as he opened a vortex of pure energy, sending the entirety of the demonic courtroom spiraling into its depths like so much used toilet paper going down the drain.  'Oh. I like that.  I'll have to use that for later.'  Faintly, he noticed the Judge, surprised at the turn of events, but still intact.  How odd.

He'd have frowned, but his pupil-less eyes strayed to the object of his avarice; dear Chicken Little, spluttering nonsense that only a lawyer could spout in a time of a world's destruction.  The Judge's protests went ignored--quite promptly, too--as he decided to truly flex the hissing, skittering magical energies that danced in his ageless bones.

The creature's shriek was something that would warm his heart--if he still had one--for decades to come.  Maybe even centuries, if he first didn't find a way to top it.  Somehow, he feared, not even the fwooming of the world in its entirety could overcome the sheer dark satisfaction of knowing this waste of demonic life was coming to an abrupt--and deliciously painful--halt.

That overstuffed turkey had the gall to ask him 'why'.

No one got away with questioning Richard's motives.

Not Cale.  Not the Phares.  Not this whimpering sack of feathers, set aflame by a seething rage tempered only with patience and a calculating sadism.  And his patience had long since worn thin.

He had explained, repeatedly and quite explicitly by his standards, why he traveled with Cale'Anon.  He liked to kill things.  What more was there to highlight?  Setting stuff on fire was a hobby of his that never got old with time, and only got more flamboyant--and flammable--as the centuries wore on.  It was fun.  Certainly, yes, he could have destroyed his little band of eclectic 'friends' at any time, but they knew that, and if they knew that, there was no surprise.  No oomph. No look of shock, and dismay, and despair knowing that all they worked for would be for naught.

Killing without knowing he had taken away something dearest to them was...well, was a waste.  And one such as Cale'Anon Vatay?  Oh, his old malevolent soul--if one could call the inky black pit that resided in his body a 'soul'--had almost hummed with anticipation in the forest.  It was not everyday someone that bright, that enthusiastic, that delightfully, blissfully, stupidly innocent came strolling along his path.  It was definitely less common for them to live more than five minutes in his presence.

Well. Perhaps Cale hadn't survived longer than five minutes, either.  But, he couldn't help that--he was always sensitive of being called 'Dick'.  It was so uncouth and low-brow.  Honestly, now.

Still, there was a uniqueness to his dopey elfin comrade that bore additional study.  Out-and-out killing a rarity like Cale would have been a disservice to the sort of damage he could truly do to him.  No, he had to break the elf first.  He wanted--needed--to corrupt his very essence, turn his foolish brain inside out and watch him flounder like a fish on a boat dock.  He wanted to wrap his life force around his finger like a gilded thread before snapping it in two.  One did not simply gulp down a rare fine wine; it was to be savored, rolled along the tongue to appreciate all the facets of the flavor before devouring it.

He mentally drew his nose up at the analogy he had just unintentionally used, thoroughly disturbed with himself, and quite frankly, a little squicked out.  And that was saying something.

Besides, he could only kill the fool once.  Even if Benny could resurrect him a second time, he doubt any of his little gang would be willing to play with him anymore; and then he would have to kill them all.  And what fun would that be?

Richard watched the charred, ashen remains of Chicken Little liquefy on the glowing, featureless floor, and quickly shushed the Judge as he moved to object to his treatment of his star prosecutor.  'Hah.  Object.  I made a funny.'  With a gnarled hand, he reached out and plucked the deceased demon's tongue from the mass of popping flesh and tissue...

And felt his inner rodent problem make its appearance. Again.

Damn those Phares.

Idly, he wondered if it were possible to kill essences of an element, and summarily assumed it was not.  As fun as it would be to try and learn if their deaths would lead to the utter imbalance of life on this rotten mudball of a world, he wasn't quite fool-hardly enough to tangle with the few beings in existence that were older than he.  Yet.

They couldn't just leave well enough alone.  They shacked in the recesses of his mind to help fix their own stupid mistakes, which he somehow agreed to, and if that wasn't enough, they had to go rooting through his proverbial underwear drawer the moment they were through the door.

He almost twitched.  Was this Photah magic screwing with his head in ways he wasn't already aware of?

"There is something else," they had said.  "Another presence.  Behind the darkness."

He had always known of that 'presence', naturally.  He had simply taken great care in ignoring it, and smothering it as much as he could in malice and apathy.  It had always worked, until those idiots kicked back in his skull and pointed it out with only too much glee, and his little mouse had been thriving ever since.  It had gotten bold since their short residence, and now often took to slipping through the cracks in his decayed bones and tattered flesh; weaving through his cloak of emnity and well-guarded non-chalance like...well, a mouse.

It was starting to irritate the living hell out of him.  For all the times he'd had his chest blown away by an errant ball of fire or explosion, he'd never once got so much as a glance at the furry bugger.  Likewise, when he'd nuked his strangely flabbergasted dopplegangers upon entrance to this hellhole, he saw neither hide nor tail of any beady-eyed monstrosity leaving their corpses.  Therefore, he decided that it must be a psychological rat needling through his innards.

Richard did not do psychology.

Psychopathy, yes.

Things having to do with a conscience and moral compass?  He did not indulge in that type of drivel.  Most certainly not in front of a jury of his 'peers'--lessers, really.  It took a surprising amount of effort to extinguish his past and ignore the ambiguously good deeds he had been doing to appease that foppish, fumbling dope and his little cadre of morally bankrupt putzes.  More effort than he would have liked to admit, even to himself, much less someone that he could and would happily send to their death.

"Death?"

And the mouse scurried again; scratching and gnawing at what was left of his insides to get his attention.  Bold, indeed.

Richard continued to ignore it, instead focusing his attention on the limp tongue that was still hanging in his grasp. With a yank and a feral smirk that did not reach his pale yellow eyes, he tore the swollen thing in half with far more force than was necessary.  Well. He always used more force than was necessary, but usually it was for the sake of drama and amusement.  The bigger the fwoom, the bigger the boom, the louder the screams, the more attention his mayhem wrought.

This?  Tear.  Was out of irritation.  Rip.  And impatience.  Squealch.  And flat-out, gods-damned annoyance and why would that damn mouse not stop moving?

He pondered if pest control lived in the Plane of Suck, but quickly dismissed it.  He doubted any exterminator would make a house call to one so antiquated.  And it probably wouldn't have done any good, anyway; all that pesticide for a pinky mouse.

Pinky mouse.

Pinky.

Damn it all.  Crunch.

He blinked, mildly surprised why there was a crunch emanating from boneless muscle, but didn't question it as the sound pleased him.  Unfortunately, beyond the remnants of the tongue that limply dangled between his bloodied fingers, it appeared he had run out of toys to play with.  Taking a moment to survey his handiwork, he realized belatedly that he had done quite the thorough job with Chicken Little--there was not a single iota of him remaining that was not burnt, lacerated, or torn to shreds.  Not a moment too soon, either--he felt the effects of the Photah magic begin to fade from his being; being sapped away into the gentle, dull throb of the dimension around him.

He nodded to himself for a job well done and idly wiped a dark red streak of gore on his intricately woven robe.  "The prosecution rests its case," he chuckled to the silent Judge, holding the remainder of the chicken's tongue up and flailing it about as it had done so often in its misbegotten life.  Sneering suddenly at its presence on his hands, he chucked it into the seeping pile of carnage strewn on the ground and turned his attention onto his new quarry.

Richard had been put to task far too much lately.  It was now his turn.  He rose to his full height, and bowed mockingly.  "Well.  Time for a little chat, your Honor.  Would like you like to go somewhere more private, or does the court please you?"
'Life was so much simpler before.'

It was the one thought that rang through Richard's mind, unusually rattled by the events of the kangaroo court.  He tried hard to ignore the memories; he fought to wipe away the imprints they left on his mind, and to pretend that he was still the same as he had always been, and shall always be.  Forever and ever, Amen.

He failed.  Every time.

No matter what he did, who he killed, or where he went, the mouse--smothered by his innate darkness--and his treacherous mind continued to blindside him when he could least afford the distraction.  He had hidden it well, certainly--he wouldn't be the Lord of Darkness, otherwise--but to his own self, the damage was only too evident.  He was becoming someone else.  A stranger, and yet, himself; who he had been before.  It was quite possibly the most disconcerting situation anyone could ever find themselves in.

He hated it.

He hated the feeling of loss, of incompletion--that he was only a part of a person.  Before he had run into Cale happily skipping along like a schoolgirl in the forest, there had only been Richard, Emperor of the Black.  Now...things were different.  He loathed not knowing fully who or what he had been.

He loathed not knowing more.

Richard was half tempted to yank his own brain out of his head and splatter it on one of the shattered walls, just so it could shut up for five seconds.  He would have done it, too, save that his undead body still needed the damned thing to keep running properly.  (He recalled blankly the last time Pella had decided to use her trademark axes to lobotomize him.  He couldn't speak a coherent sentence for almost four hours.  The looks he got were priceless.)  Frustrated, and agitated at the turn of events, he stood in the silent courtroom in the Plane of Suck, and wished something would break the monotony of his own inner monologue.

"Will you..." the Judge rasped, "...tell me why?"

That was not the kind of monotony-breaking question he was looking for.

He glared at the Judge darkly, lying broken in the center of the demolished court floor.  He had decimated the entire place for demanding that very answer, and this fool was going to waste his dying breath on asking the same thing?  What kind of idiots ran this demonic plane, anyway?

And yet...

He looked away, reproachfully, as words unbidden bubbled up his too-dry throat.  "I'm beginning to remember."  How odd; was that a hint of shame he felt?

"Remember what?"

'How to tap-dance; what do you think?' he snapped internally, scooping up a cooling skull from the rubble at his feet.  He needed to keep his hands busy, and he wasn't certain why.  Pensive, he raised the remains to his face and stared into the vacant sockets.  "My life," he admitted.  Oh yes, that was definitely shame.  "Before I was turned."

How many centuries, millennia, had it been since he had felt shame?  Or pity?  Or anything other than a vague, all-encompassing boredom?  This plane sucked so very much, and the sooner he could put it behind him and forget this entire fiasco happened, the better.

His imaginary gutter mouse pillaged his insides, making a respectale-sized sitting room out of his intestines, before it shifted and took a nice large chunk out of his spine.

He straightened, gazing upwards in defeat. The demon-rat won this round.  "I recall my home," he clarified; to himself or the Judge, though, was unsure.  "My family."

Richard smirked sardonically, perpetually hidden beneath his cowl, as one of his first memories fluttered about.  His father.  That spiteful, stubborn old bull.  "I recall my Lord Father's distaste of my chosen profession."  Distaste was a gross understatement; raging, uncontrolled hatred would have been a more accurate descriptor of the Lord Ashendale's rants.  He also remembered that the hatred was reciprocated.  Eagerly.

Had that been what started it all?

He tried hard to forget, but there were times he tried even harder to remember.  The cold-blooded, gleeful killer in him wanted to drop these nonsensical things from his mind, purge them and return to his pure state.  Yet, his thirst for the knowledge was insatiable.  On the rare occasion in which he allowed himself this most embarrassing, selfish indulgence (usually the few periods in which he wasn't fwooming with glorious, reckless abandon), he would scour every scattered memory, event, sound, and color that had presented itself to him.

He regretted trying; it left him with nothing but a headache and a sense of inadequacy, that was sated only by making random creatures suffer in delightfully malicious fashions.  He once killed a rat by singing to it until its head exploded. Or perhaps that had been the miniature bonfire he'd set in the creature's stomach.

"It comes in flashes," he explained to the Judge in confidence, knowing the demon would be telling no one this, "waves..."  The warlock tapered off as a telltale tingling began to form, languidly sprawling itself along the base of his skill like a spoiled indoor cat.  Or Sooba.  "In colors."  

The wave he spoke of crested in his mind, barreling through the thick, chalky ink of his...his...was it his soul?  His essence?  It didn't make as much sense as it used to.  Well, it had never made sense; mysticism had never been his strong suit, but then, he'd never cared about it until this point.  Truth be told, he wasn't entirely sure he cared now--

Chomp.

The mouse begged to differ, it appeared.

Whatever it was, it offered only a token resistance. Eyes wide, momentarily stunned at its raw strength, he murmured, "It comes."  His body went slack with resignation as the onslaught of new memories rushed over him.

For a moment, but a fleeting heartbeat--figuratively speaking, of course--Richard no longer felt fragmented.  He knew who he was, what his purpose was in life, who his allies were, what he wanted to do, and where he wanted to go.  A girl with scraggly blonde hair, a waif, almost cute--

The image dissolved.

He felt something akin to pain.

He felt.

'Life was so much simpler before.'

His eyes cracked open in dangerous, baleful slits.  "And it's changing me," he growled.  He was the manipulator, not the manipulated.  Who or what sought to twist him into something he was not, oh, they would know no end to their agony.  'Unless, of course,' the thought sprang up, 'I was already twisted--'

He forcefully shut the thought away, stuffed it down into the recesses of the murky darkness, and turned to face his fallen adversary.  "Like Cale, I sense that I am on a path.  I don't know where it leads, yet I am compelled to follow."  He faltered for a moment, before stating, truthfully, "For the first time in hundreds of years, I have a goal."

A small weight was lifted from his shoulders as the words left his mouth; as if saying it aloud had been the only way to prove its voracity, it's severity.  Richard had a goal, and he would be damned (again) if anything stood in his way.

The demon raised a hand and pointed in harsh judgment.  Hadhe not been bleeding profusely and very near death, Richard may have almost been impressed at the display of authority.  Actually, he would have just set his head on fire, instead.  He missed his beloved Fwoom.  "The court finds you guilty."

He knew what the implication was.  He was going soft.

He grimaced. So be it.  "I accept the verdict."  He lunged forward and gripped the Judge's head, promptly severing it from the rest of its body.  That felt good.  Fwooming would have felt better, of course, but circumstances being what they were...a good decapitation was just as satisfying.  "But I deny the sentence."  Wiping the blood on the corpse's clothes, Richard turned his back on the broken shell of the courtroom and headed for his convenient, hand-made exit.

"I have a destiny."

---

Hidden behind a charred section of ceiling, Hctib Elttil stared at his horrid master in a mixture of awe and horrible, derisive pleasure.  Never in a million years would he have thought that terrible Warlock would have given him such information!  And so sincerely!

Oh, he was going to have fun with this.

The End
Made by SilveKnight