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Apolitical High Fantasy

  Emperor Dornard the Petulant approached the cerulean Crystal of Twi’tar, heart palpitating with rage. He stroked the mineral’s smooth base, activating the resonant shards scattered across the land. Some citizens kept their piece of Twi’tar in their pocket, others upon a central mantle in their homes. Regardless, the peasants, without aid of a spell to mute the despot’s voice, would hear his latest decree.

  “Do not listen to your town criers!” he shouted, the rock trembling in time with the rise and fall of his tone. “They are in league with false prophets, providing you with fake news!” A moment passed. “Sad!” He turned to walk away, but another thought tugged at his brain. Whirling back to the Crystal of Twi’tar, he swiped a sweat-slick palm across its surface. “I call my own shots, and all those visibly opposing my sovereignty are paid to do so! Their placards are professionally made!”

  The sound of sloughing skin curled up from a shadowed corner, prickling the base of Dornard the Inconstant’s neck. A voice like locusts burbled from the shade: “You should not have deigned to respond to accusations insinuating my power over you.”

  “But if I did not,” Dornard mewled, “both haters and losers may think it true.”

  A shape, vaguely human in dark robes, lurched partially into the light. A puffy, reddened face peered from beneath the hood, dead eyes piercing Dornard the Bigoted. “Best to let them think the mere notion of B’nnon the Necromancer’s return from hoary oblivion is beyond entertaining. None need know ‘twas I who pulled you from the depths of the Disconsolate Void.” It moved soundlessly forward, its inhuman, burbling gait betraying the reality that whatever simulacrum of skin it had was but a shell for noxious gasses decomposing an equally feculent nest of abyssal worms.

  “They shan’t, though your rot infects the very quills with which my royal decrees have been penned,” the monarch said with satisfaction at his perceived duplicity.

  “It is time.” With a bubbling, oily sigh, B’nnon lifted a portion of its robe, revealing a pulsing mound of writhing squealing leeches. “You must stave off the grave, my liege.”

  Despite his initial horror at the sight of the squirming breast, the emperor found himself shuffling helplessly toward the necromancer. His bones turned to jelly and he fell to his knees, swaying in a haze. Then, with an ecstatic moan, he buried his face deep in screaming leeches, mouth searching for the orifice which would grand him the needed ichor to sustain his failing physicality. Even as the invertebrate, carnivorous masses bit and chewed at his face, his quest was successful, and he pulled hungrily at the ghastly teat. The nectar of evil tasted of sulphur and hatred, and though it choked and burned his throat, he could not pull away from the coarse emission.

  “Start a Twi’tar was with an actress,” B’nnon cooed, patting the suckling Dornard the Cruel’s hair. “Your supporters will claim you’re playing thirty-two-dimensional quizbar, unlike the four-dimensional quizbar which is the more common variant.”

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