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Prologue

    His majesty was feeling singularly discontented and unhappy. Much of it was not his fault. The rest was the ministers fault, for he needed somebody to blame, and they were unlucky enough to be members of his court. In this day and age, the kingdom was flourishing, according to the bureau for propaganda, and the overfunded tax department had too many enforcers than they knew what to do with. As his majesty sat on his throne wondering how else he could help himself, he noted that the man with the bald head and emotionless face was done talking. With a royal flourish of his hands, and a few decisive and inspiring words the man was led out and duly paid his gold for acting out his bit. A little while later his corpse would wind up in the sewer, and by then his majesty would again be inspiring awe in the hearts of the people, by finding the corpse for his family, and arresting a few other good men on the grounds of murder.

    In fact much of the kingdom was like this, a perfectly serene paradise. But that exactly was the problem. His majesty had risen to power through a long bloody revolution; one that lasted for the better part of a decade. Then he had crushed countless smaller revolts, and overstepped his bounds as King, acting as investigator, judge and executioner himself. But the people where mostly happy, for they had a King, and not an emperor, chancellor, dictator or grand magistrate unlike the barbaric nations outside the borders of the kingdom. But this serene paradise was the very cause of his mourning. His son was a moron, and an idealistic moron at that. If he had two moron sons, one idealistic and the other normal, then perhaps the kingdom might function well enough. But he only had one moron son, and he was an idealistic lecher, controlled entirely by his concubines. The kingdom was doomed, and his majesty knew it, and the thought of the better part of a decade's worth of effort going to waste seemed a terrible shame.

    Were his son to die under certain mysterious circumstances he would find himself confronted by the problem of an incompetent array of fools who sat lavishly upon thrones of gold, calling themselves nobles. His son was useless, the nobles were useless, his minister's were the cause of much dissatisfaction to him, and the demons were coming. All in all a bad enough situation. He was surrounded by mediocrity and incompetence, I'll fit to be taking care of an enemy that threatened to run over the kingdom. He knew he was going to die, for with this level of incompetence around nothing could ever happen. The demons would threaten them all, and it was only a matter of time before the demons killed them all. The demons were one of the many races that resided upon the continent. They rarely got along with each other, let alone other races.

    Much of it was due to the lineage of the demons. Once they were born, they had to drink blood. It nourished them, pulled them out of the death-like stupor after their birth, and enhanced their blood within which their powers lay. Blood seemed to strengthen them, and the stronger they grew, the more offspring they were bound to have as they survived longer, and more blood was needed. Within the Craigs of Telmanar, past the Gate of Volmund nothing survived, for those were demonic lands were even the trees drank blood. There was no real specification that the blood had to be human, the blood of an animal satisfied the need equally well, but there were certain deficits to thinking like an animal, especially for an intelligent race such as the demons.

    Since the dawn of times, the continent had shook five times. Each time a  fissures had opened up. Thunder and lightning ruled the skies, fiery meteors rained down, and burning ash smothered all life. Now it was the third aeon, millions upon millions of years had passed, and what was known about the dawn of times came from the far-seers who read the flow of mana within the earth. The fourth end time was coming they said, and the King decided that his utopia had more than its share of prophets of the end, and that believable ones did no good to society. The fissures would shred the continent apart, into six pieces, one to be swallowed by the sea and five that would carry the vestiges of life forward. His majesty snorted as he thought about the now mostly dead far-seers again how their prophecies  were going to be useless if the kingdom didn't survive the demon tide first. That was what his generals called it, and tide was the perfect to describe the fickle demons, it was like a flock to birds, only more murderous like crows.

    They came, countless demons, trampling upon whatever they saw, indiscriminately laying waste to things, whether it be demons, human or other races, so long as there was blood, the demons didn't let a simple thing like camaraderie or kinship hold them back. In a sense his majesty was much like the demons, for he did not feel any kinship at all. His moron son was useless, and his dead wife could only roll in her grave as she watched everything go all awry. With a scowl he glanced at the minister who currently was speaking. The other ministers noticed his majesty's scowl, and felt sorry for what was to come for the poor man. On the bright side, they did have one less competitor. In fact it was this baseless optimism that let them get through life in the Royal court while retaining their money. Even a monk might not have as little self respect and pride as the ministers did, for they did what it took to survive, which mainly involved grovelling at his majesty's feet for extended periods of time, while pleading for mercy. At the very least, it did work, and that was something they could be proud of, alongside their wealth, social status, and whatever else they happened to have at the time.

    His majesty scowled and his dark mood darkened and his thoughts wandered again to the invasion. The demon tide. What a botched up mess that was, entirely the propaganda department's fault. And the ministers and the military and the rest of them all. Why couldn't his life as King be interesting? When he had led the rebellion, things had been interesting. He didn't play by the book, no there wasn't even a book to play by. He wrote the book then and there, and now seeing all the guerrilla tactics he had developed being used against him, he could only sneer, turn up his nose, and order the soldiers to slaughter them all. Now there wasn't any of that, nothing that made his blood boil like the rebellion did, no sneaking ministers, no political warfare, no nothing. He ruled with an iron fist, and the nobles wept in the blood of their kin as he pruned the hierarchy very now and then. It was all mundane, dull and uninteresting.

    The demon tide was a botched up mess. He knew it, they knew it, and even the goddamned demons knew it. The masses did not care that they had a dictator for a King. They did not care about corruption, nor about their poor living condition, or even how they were no better off under this regime than they were under the last. A change was a change and that was good enough. The less said, the better. But they did care when the rumour spread that the demons were coming. Immediately an army was lobbied into existence, and speeches were given. His majesty never could understand the mentality of the herd. He had initially wanted to improve the lives of the masses, to make it all better. But then he noticed that nobody gave a ** either way. So he built a colosseum with all the food reserve money. The masses were dying to watch people kill each other, rather literally. He noted that the same amount of people were bound to die in a war against the demons, as would have died from starvation, poverty and disease. Perhaps it was some subconscious motivation of the herd to reduce their numbers when they started dying by the dozen. And then he wondered how the grim reaper managed to wade through all the muck and filth of the streets to collect the due souls.

    He was not eager for this war of survival. It did not make his blood boil, nor his heart pound. It would be long, just like how the farmers had predicted, and it wouldn't end for a long time to come. He would die before it ended, and the kingdom would die with him, for his pacifist moron son was a lesson in incompetency himself. A case study of bland mediocrity and indecisiveness. An example of redundant compassion. He was useless, and his majesty knew the kingdom was done for. But he had a plan. An excellent plan, one that might cause the upheaval of the whole of the continent. If the far-seers proclaimed that the end times were coming, why must he strive to delay it? Why must he fear it? He was going to die either way, and so was the kingdom. It would die with his reign, forgotten, hidden within the cryptic vaults of history books. It was for the best that he should make his reign unforgettable.

    He would be known throughout the continent, as it died. He would be famous. No, infamous. If the end times were coming, he would welcome it with open arms. Since he was not the one to predict it, he decided he might as well be the one to inaugurate it's arrival. If he was on a one way road to hell, as his moron son had said so many times, he might as well ignore the speed limit. And slowly that dark mood lifted, and his scowl became a bloodcurdling sneer that was reminiscent of the captured demon the minister's had seen earlier that day. The minister who was speaking faltered when he saw that sneer. They all knew he was in for it.

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