The Aliens They Summoned
This night didn't start perfectly for Count Nosgard. This night didn't even start during the night, as one of his servants prematurely woke him from his slumber. It seemed to be an important matter, but the Count couldn't hold himself back from ripping an arm out from his servant.
It would recover.
Tired and irritated, he went to a desk in the corner of his dungeon room and waited for his one-handed servant to light the candle.
This took longer than expected, so Count Nosgard ripped the second arm out, too, when he was finished.
It would recover.
The sound of his muscle fibers snapping, the sound of his bones breaking, the unpleasant wails he emitted after the deed was done...
They served their purpose. Count Nosgard was calm as the night sky as he swiftly opened the letter with one of his long fingernails, grinning mischievously as he kept shooting glances at his servant.
"Go suck some human's blood," he told him, and the servant scurried away. "Stop rejecting your nature, stupid boy..."
The letter was sent to him by Lord Viktor.
He knew of Lord Viktor, of course, his being the closest castle to the Nation of Paegan. The king long since planned on taking them over, but not before he controlled the whole lands of his own Nation.
The last conquest still lingered.
Too many humans did what they wanted, not subjected to the king and his companions. They were persistent little pests if nothing else.
It was a short letter.
Count Nosgard snorted as he saw the sloppy job the writer had done. This was not Lord Viktor, and it wasn't one of his knights, either.
Ignoring all the errors and hard-to-read letters, it went as follows:
Dear Count Nosgard,
I'm sending you and every other lord the same letter, in a radius of a hundred miles from my castle. A most dire situation arose, and we couldn't ignore it.
We were attacked in the dead of night.
I don't know how it could have happened, and the beast has yet to be identified. All we know is that it appears to be a bear on two legs, stronger and larger than any animal we know of.
Our guards, knights, and mages have been overwhelmed by a single individual, and who knows where it's headed now...
Or how many there are.
It has fur as hard as steel and claws the size of short swords.
Its teeth are like daggers and spearheads, penetrating even the hardest armor with ease. Our gates were useless in its onslaught, and it seems to feast on humans for fun.
Every assaulted person in the castle has disgusting bite-marks, many were bitten more than once.
If you don't have a fortified base, flee.
If your gates appear weaker than stone, fortify them.
If you suddenly lose contact with a town, city, or castle around yours, be prepared to face the beast soon.
May your people be spared,
Count Nosgard read through the letter again.
He got a letter or two from Lord Viktor before, and he was ever concerned about the people.
A new disease has spread, take care!
Strange animals have appeared, save your crops!
Stuff like that.
This time was different, though. Lord Viktor warned him once again, but this time, Count Nosgard intended to listen.
Crops and diseases didn't concern him.
He didn't work like those weak humans. A disease or two wouldn't even phase him. The prospect of not eating bread every morning didn't concern him.
But this... creature.
It sounded dangerous.
Count Nosgard wasn't even sure if his king could defeat a human castle single-handedly. Maybe if he sneaked inside and they weren't expecting anything...?
But this beast didn't do that.
At least the letter suggested that it attacked them in a blind rage.
For centuries, his king had been the very strongest creature on the earth without the shadow of a doubt...
He waited for his servant to return.
The lad looked sheepish as he licked the bloody remains from his sharp teeth. His arms grew out with steam rising from the stumps, the upper arms already completed.
It wouldn't take long, now.
"Count Nosgard," he said, bowing low.
He looked funny with his stumps for arms, but Count Nosgard didn't even have it in him to laugh or mock the lad.
"A strange beast has appeared in Kingdom Gaundry," he said, eyeing the letter. "The seal of Lord Viktor is genuine, even if the handwriting is a bit sloppy." Count Nosgard scowled. "We must fortify the castle. Look for any place that could be breached with human weaponry, and think twice before passing it off as tolerable. This thing crashed through solid stone."
The servant had a shocked expression on his face as he bowed low.
He walked backward until he reached the door, which he opened and disappeared through with his head still low.
He didn't want his arms ripped out again, it seemed.
A smart move.
"Attention," he said, and a few dozen suits of armor saluted to his call. "We will need more personnel like you, it seems. Find me more weapons, suits, and other objects. Anything is fine, really, as long as it can hurt. Bring them to the great hall, and I will animate them there. You have until noon to finish your job. Understood?"
The suits saluted again, marching out with big steps and the serious demeanor he had reanimated them with.
They were his never-tiring, always-attentive guard while he was most vulnerable. It had taken quite a few tried to make them stop attacking his own servants when they wanted to wake him up like today.
Even those scrapped experiments would return to his service now, it seemed.
What did Lord Viktor say about these letters?
He will send them out to a hundred miles around his castle? Does that mean he didn't write the king?
Count Nosgard stood up and walked to the middle of his dungeon room. He didn't want to work all day, but that much seemed inevitable.
He could start by writing an answer.
Perhaps he should prioritize telling his own king first, though...
Well, he'd write both, anyway.
At least he would have a few moments more in his dark chamber like that. What to do with the pigeon, though?
He never liked them for their acidic shit and loud noises.
His king seemed to think similarly, as their chosen animal for deliveries were bats. Silent, smart creatures they could control with so much as a hiss.
He'd write a letter, look for some more objects to animate with blood magic, and set out to make his castle safe.
The only positive to the situation was that this beast seemingly operated at night.
At least he would be awake to see its attack...
Count Nosgard went back to his desk and sat down. He had to write back...
Dear Lord Viktor...