Gift For A Queen
Gift For A Queen I
Taken from the journal of Master Tollus...
Our Dark Lady, the Queen of Uncounted Pleasures... was not the reward I expected. The bargains I made through the portal, the exchange of virgin flesh for phials of tainted power, had never meant to go beyond that. A few more years and I'd have had the strength to become a king, to finally overthrow that ancient monster in the castle and take my rightful place on Hawkstone's throne. Yet this year, our pure sacrifice was exchanged not for elixirs of power from the Demon World, but with my Queen in the crimson flesh.
In the blink of an eye, my devotees were ripped away from me, turned to the idolation of Her directly. The well-organized machine I have spent a decade building up from nothing, indoctrinating and training, is now a disorganized mess. All that She teaches is the mindless search of pleasure. Her commandments are to seek out sex and debauchery with no higher goal. I, too, taught that one's own pleasure was paramount, but I directed it, controlled it. Used their hedonism to guide them towards useful ends. But the Dark Lady? She has undone it all.
Does She even realize what resources I have put at her cloven feet? The number of trained warriors and mages, all fanatically devoted to Her? And She has done worse than nothing with them!
At the very least, I do not believe she has discovered the work we are doing in the Sorran Temple and the Great Rift. There, my flock's devotion remains focused, undistracted. Perhaps I can use their successes to show the Dark Lady the error of her ways! That they are useful tools, if only She can give them direction and care! If She were to offer up not just Her body but Her brilliant mind as well, then we would become unstoppable.
Gift For A Queen II
Taken from the research notes of Master Tollus...
What was to be a gift has become a fell and terrible curse.
The Queen of Uncounted Pleasures has made it abundantly clear now that my goals and hers do not align. My followers were to be the bedrock of a new kingdom, to end this age of chaos and anarchy and restore the unbroken line from the old. But Kasyrra has no dreams of empire, no appreciation for the glory of our past nor a vision for the future that does not paint her as stark-raving mad. She speaks of lightning from the heavens, of moving pictures and machines of pleasure and war that would make even the Magisters of Estelore laugh at their absurdity.
She is insane.
Yet she is the Dark Lady I had spent long decades in service to, is she not? Her power and intelligence cannot be denied; she is the Dark Lady I promised to my followers, and the damned fools ate up every word. Now that Kasyrra is more than words and ideals, they flock mindlessly to her. I am undone by my own blind devotion, just as they are!
But my abyssal creature...
If the Dark Lady's head is as full of water as I now suspect, the creature may be the only way to restore order. Its mere presence dominates lesser minds, and I suspect it is much more powerful than even it truly knows. A ravening sea-beast capable of Dreamwalking, the goo that sloughs off its body a mere catalyst for immense powers... what madness these false gods have wrought! But perhaps it can serve, if its mental powers can be focused and controlled — focused on the Dark Lady, and used to bring her to heel. If she will not bend her great might to our cause, then I will bend her to it!
And if not...?
I too saw the transformation she wrought on the Elvenqueen. Kasyrra bade me accompany her to the queen's new court when she restored to her the 'lethicite' gem the queen had discarded when she ascended. Kasyrra's words betrayed her; she called the fragile pink thing a crystalized soul, said its absence was the heart of a demon's power. She laughed at the Elvenqueen's tiny, worthless soul, not fit even to be consumed... but I saw in it far greater potential than either of the demons ever could! So ascension truly costs your soul? A small price for a demon's strength, I say. She told me it was these 'lethicite' crystals that were the vital reagent in making the longevity potions that the Gauntlet and I traded for each year during the conjunction of spheres; even took some of my followers' discarded remains to brew a fresh batch before my eyes! All my time spent trying to recreate the elixirs, all to naught because of a critical ingredient which existence I was not even aware of until now!
Yet it is the soul's absence that makes a demon what it is, as if the soul were a shackle binding we mere mortals to our physical cages and suppressing the power we can command! The absence of something can be just as real and valuable a thing as its presence, after all.
It's enough to make a man truly think: if the Dark Lady's true strength was unleashed by her soullessness, as was Alissa's... then whatever happened to her lethicite, to Kasyrra's crystalized soul...? If the Dark Lady cannot be bent, can her power over my followers be broken by its return?
I have dispatched the Faceless Blade to investigate. Perhaps Kasyrra's soul can be found, and if not... then perhaps that wilted, twisted thing in the Blade's own chest is the answer I seek. She is yet the most loyal of all my followers save the Gauntlet himself; surely she will see the wisdom in her own ascension if it means the Dark Lady is brought to heel and made to serve the cause, rather than bring it to ruin. She'll see...