The Children of Eris
Ten minutes after David's summons, Rebecca, Eva, Jorōgumo, Hilda, Jessica, Mania, Abaddon and Mímir had assembled in the throne room.
Once they had all arrived, David entered, followed closely behind by his two new generals, surprising everyone in the room and earning a variety of stares at them.
Rebecca and Eva had been surprised but they quickly regained their composure.
Hilda’s expression hadn’t changed at all.
Mimir eyed both women suspiciously, even though he assumed they were David’s new generals.
Abaddon scoffed and puffed out his chest a little.
Mania bit down deep into her lip with her fangs.
Behind her, Jessica looked on at the women in awe.
Jorōgumo was confused, both by the women following behind David and by the generals’ reactions.
David sat upon his throne and Scylla and Charybdis stood either side of him, keeping their eyes closed.
“I’m pleased to see how quick you were to assemble here, my council,” David began. “While this is sudden, I’d like to introduce you to the two newest members of the council: Scylla and Charybdis. I’ll let them introduce themselves in one moment but, for those of you confused by their appearance, allow me to explain.
“Periodically, I am able to summon strong servants to fight for me from another dimension. Mimir, Mania and Abaddon are such servants. Now then, Scylla, introduce yourself and tell us what you can do.”
“As you command, your majesty,” Scylla cheerfully said with a quick curtsey.
She stepped forwards and put her hand to her chest. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, esteemed members of the Dark Lord’s council. I am Scylla, Beast of the Ocean. While this might surprise you, I can transform into the great beast you might know me to be with this.”
Scylla raised one of her palms to the ceiling and slowly, and gruesomely, the skin on her hand began to open up.
Tiny, razor sharp teeth emerged in the hole that appeared in her hand, dragging out from her body a jagged black dagger which was coated in a purple poison. In its hilt, there was a serpent’s eye and, once the bottom of the hilt had been pushed out of her body, the hole was covered up by her skin and she caught the blade in the same hand.
“A single stab with this to my heart will transform me into the Great Beast of the Sea,” Scylla proudly declared to David with a big smile on her face.
What the hell was that?! David screamed in his head, barely able to maintain the emotionless front he was putting on.
The generals looked impressed whereas Rebecca and Eva were just as terrified as David had been. Jorōgumo, who could also transform, was so impressed by Scylla she clapped gently.
Hilda, however, looked downtrodden a little and lowered her head.
“So, this short stack is-”
A dagger flew towards Abaddon’s face before he could finish his sentence.
His reflexes kicked in and he knocked it out of the air. Scylla was glaring viciously at him, holding two more daggers in her hands.
“Who the fuck do you think you are?” Scylla muttered, her eyes turning a deep, dark green.
“That’s what I should be asking you!” Abaddon drew his sword and thrust it towards her. “I am Abaddon, one of the first generals handpicked by his majesty. You should treat your elders with more respect.”
Scylla scoffed. “Respect?” She grinned. “Ah, I know all about you, Abaddon. My sister and I haven’t been here even an hour and we’ve already heard tales of your ‘glory’.” Abaddon clicked his tongue, making Scylla and Charybdis giggle. “Forgive me for speaking out of turn, Dark Lord, but I can’t help but feel that Lord Abaddon disrespected me first.”
…So, she has anger issues, David thought. As long as it can be reigned in and it can be used productively, then I don’t care if she fights with Abaddon. All that matters is that they don’t kill each other and work together when it counts.
Although. David stared at her back. Where did she hear about Abaddon’s shortcomings? He frowned. Did Eris tell her to sew dissent into my ranks? I’ll figure that out later.
“I don’t mind in this case, Scylla,” David said to her gently.
“I apologise and thank you for your mercy, Dark Lord,” Scylla replied. Her hands swallowed her daggers before she bowed to him gracefully.
Then, David turned to Abaddon and took on a sterner tone of voice. “Abaddon. Not only have you embarrassed yourself by insulting her the moment you’ve met her, but you’ve also embarrassed me by not knowing to be respectful to your fellow generals.”
“…I’m sorry, your majesty,” Abaddon mumbled.
“Just don’t do it again, or else you’ll be punished for it this time,” David warned. “Charybdis, introduce yourself.”
“As you wish, your majesty,” she said.
Charybdis showed the council a beautiful smile and bowed in the same way that Scylla had. “I am Charybdis, Beast of the Ocean much like my younger sister there. Just as she can transform into her beast form, so can I with the same dagger, though it embarrasses me to say that I have to use my sister’s dagger to do so. I also cannot produce weapons like she can.”
“Your majesty, may I ask her a question before she continues?” Mímir inquired.
“…If it is a brief one, then yes,” David muttered.
“Thank you. Charybdis, from what I know of your tale, you were the sea monster that lurked in the water and swallowed ships whole, correct?”
“Yes, it is as you say,” Charybdis replied.
“Then, might I ask as to why it is that you have a bow and quiver of arrows on you?”
“Because these are my weapons when I am on land.” Charybdis slung the bow from her back into her hands and knocked an arrow against it. “Lord Mímir, I assume that you are aware of the story of my sister and I, yes? Then, you should know this part of the tale as well.” Charybdis giggled slightly and drew back on her bow. Even though she was still smiling sweetly, there was a haunting look in her eyes. “If anyone or anything gets too close to me, I’ll devour it.”
She fired the arrow and it flew towards Mímir with great speed and power.
Mímir narrowly dodged the arrow but, as it flew past him, it swung around mid-air and chased after him as if it was alive. It zoomed towards Mímir again but, this time, he drew his sword and expertly cut it in two, stopping the arrow for good.
“Impressive,” Mania whispered, covering her mouth with her hand to hide her nasty expression.
“Indeed,” Abaddon grunted, before he grunted and cracked his knuckles. “But that won’t save you if someone gets too close to you, will it?”
Charybdis giggled and gently put the bow down, resting it against David’s throne. “On the contrary.” From her back, four long, deep green claw-like arms sprouted and shot at Abaddon, trying to grab him. “I can handle myself just fine at any distance.”
Abaddon pushed two of the claws out of the way, but the other two sank into his shoulders, digging into his skin and pulling him towards her. Abaddon grunted and dug his boots into the ground, trying to resist her, but the other two claws latched onto his legs and pulled them out from under him.
He had been completely caught off-guard and had been almost instantly overwhelmed by her.
“It’s like I told Lord Mímir, Lord Abaddon,” Charybdis said; she dislocated her jaw and her mouth opened wider, revealing smaller versions of the claw-like arms she’d sunk into Abaddon. “If my prey gets too close to me, I’ll devour it.”
With her demonstration of her power done, Charybdis dislodged her hold on Abaddon and relocated her jaw, returning her sweet smile to her face.
Both of these girls are terrifying! What the hell?! David screamed again in his mind. I thought they might be more like Jorōgumo in human form, but this is just frightening! I really hope Jorōgumo doesn’t do scary stuff like that while she’s human.
Charybdis gave a light bow to David and said, “I hope that your majesty will forgive me for being so brazen and attacking my fellow generals. I merely wished to prove to you my strength and to show your council that I have the right to stand beside you.”
“…It’s fine,” David whispered, trying not to let his fear show, though the cold sweat encasing his body made him shiver a little. He was glad he’d put on his armour before he’d come, but he wished he’d put on his helmet as well. “It made your self introductions much more interesting and straight to the point.”
“Thank you very much for your kind words, your majesty.”
I wish I’d picked Pegasus.
“Now then, there was another reason why I called you all here and I didn’t want to wait until we had our meeting later today about our next move,” David continued. “A hundred days have passed since we began my plan to take over the Holy Empire and, even after our setback in Black Port, our military force has grown much stronger. Not to mention that there probably isn’t much time left until someone somewhere discovers or begins to discover our operation.
“Therefore, it’s time for us to get more ambitious and take greater risks.”
While all of the generals were excited by the announcement, Abaddon was personally the most happy about it.
“Until now, we have stayed hidden in the shadows to avoid detection and to test the strength of the Holy Empire and we have done so to mixed results. Thus, we must begin to make bolder moves but also distract and confuse our enemies who might find us. Mímir, what news do you have from Stonefall that could help us in this regard?”
“Per your majesty’s orders, Mania and I have been looking into any and all information we can find in the city to find allies to assist you, but hadn’t been too successful until two days ago,” Mímir said. “As I was browsing a bookshop in Stonefall, I found a thick tome titled ‘Myths and Legends of Aangapea’ and learnt of a powerful sorcerer who once terrorised the land and fought against Saint Themis herself: Karak-Harth.”
“Karak-Harth?!” Rebecca yelled inadvertently. She quickly covered her mouth and lowered her head a little when everyone turned to look at her.
“You know of him, Lady Rebecca?” Mímir asked; she nodded. “Then, could you explain who he is to his majesty?”
“O-of course,” Rebecca said. She swallowed, straightened her posture, then spoke. “Karak-Harth was the original Divine Caster for Saint Themis before the founding of the Holy Empire. During the War of Unification, Karak-Harth betrayed Saint Themis and tried to kill her, but was ultimately defeated in a battle at the Shadow Tombs.
“It is said that he cursed the Tombs upon his death and that, once Saint Themis died, he would return and inflict never-ending suffering upon the Holy Empire. From what I’ve read, it seems the reason the Shadow Tombs is able to create so many undead constantly throughout the year is because of Karak-Harth’s curse.”
“Is this true, Mímir?” David asked.
“Everything that Lady Rebecca has said is exactly what I’ve learnt, your majesty,” Mímir said. “It is also possible that the reason the Holy Empire became so scared of the Great Disaster Mania and I created is because they made a connection between our words and Karak-Harth’s curse.”
“Do you think that could happen if that were the case, Eva, Lady Rebecca?”
“I believe so, Lord Allaric,” Rebecca said firmly.
“I-I do too, your majesty!” Eva shrieked.
“Then this is perfect!” David roared, leaping up from his throne. “We shall use this Karak-Harth and his curse as our distraction to make the Holy Empire dance to our tune, and to keep them off our trail. Mímir, where is it that this Karak-Harth is meant to be buried?”
“At a tomb located across the Goddess’s Eye Lake, your majesty. I believe it’s meant to be nestled against the mountains there.”
“Then that is where I shall go. Scylla and Charybdis will accompany me and we shall find this tomb, resurrect Karak-Harth, have him raise an army and have him be our true Great Disaster.”
“As you wish, your majesty,” the twins answered with a bow.
“Master, could I go with you too?” Jorōgumo inquired. “I wish to be of more use to you.”
“What of your spiders that I wish to use as spies?”
“The first twenty have already been hatched and know to listen to my commands, as well as yours and Mimir’s. With or without me being here, they will do whatever it is that Master desires.”
“Then, Mímir, I’ll leave you to decide how to use the spiders and where to send them. Make sure to spread out our information network as widely as you can whilst not being discovered. If necessary, have this Sylvan serve as the disposable, traceable link should you be discovered.”
“By your command, your majesty,” Mímir replied.
“I trust you will follow my orders properly this time and that you’ll check with me about any other bright ideas you have, yes?”
“…Yes, your majesty.”
“Then, we have not a moment to spare,” David said, beckoning Scylla and Charybdis to follow him. “All other council members are to continue their duties as directed in our last meeting and, while I don’t wish to discourage people taking the initiative, do so within reason. Is that all clear?”
“Yes, your majesty,” the council members replied.
“Excellent. This meeting is adjourned.”