A Hall somewhere in the heart of Denegrim
“Don’t you think you’ve gotten a little extreme? It’s not like the children could do any actual harm…”
“You, of all people, shouldn’t be talking about getting extreme.”
“Wow, way to bring the mood down, Tendum. ”
Tendum let out a sigh. With a shrug of the uttermost absolute carelessness, he wandered away from the pitiful confrontation. Like a victor standing over their spiteful foe, he looked around for a better challenge. When none forced themselves upon him, the mountain tree branches rubbed off on him.
Not used to the heights, …(not Tendum… greeted the people of Denegrims capital. “War, how fare you?” His hand reached the height of his head as the fingers circled his palm. The gesture hardly matched his common greeting, but one of the people replied with similar response. Getting into a conversation about the usual topics of controversy. Whether they be beast attacks, the newest hall or even the clan leader struggling to remain loyal to the Manhandler’s denomination of strength.
A few weeks passed before ….(Tendum and the crew)… were entirely adapted and established in their new environment. Getting used to the accents so far away from home, they couldn’t help but take time to bring themselves up to date on the latest distinctions of the words “kill” and “food” in both Denegrimian subcultures. All the extensive worldly discovery details aside, they were asked to be seen by the dictator. The person who was effectively emperor, high king and pope. Luckily for them, it would be one visit and the visit would not include the Vassal clan leaders or any of the pretentious wannabe’s that so often usurped the dictators time. (The parliament & above.)
Arriving at the hall, there’s not a single person in sight. Nor was there a single person inside. Sheepishly staring into the hall, the group began to doubt their original premise. The emperor wasn’t going to show up and they would be stripped from their rights as citizens, just because they failed that one boar hunt last month. And to top it all off, the pesky council of honorable wannabe pretenders were going to be the heroes that exposed them too.
The rampaging thought process of future despair was interrupted. A deep voice, untrained and not very loud and outspoken fluttered in between the walls. It did not sound like a commoner: “War…”
Well aware of the dictators presence and slightly frightened by the clarity of such a silent greeting, the few humbled themselves and gave back a greeting of their own as gently as they could. “War…”
The lighting in the room was minimal and progressing through the hall happened very slowly. When out of thin air, there seemed to be two bright eyes afloat, reflecting in what little light the hall let into the room.
The eyes were accompanied by a set of instructions. Both booming and unnerving, they were as followed: “From this inner city to the outer reaches where they greet you, walk.”
Genuinely confused as to why they were being sent on a quest to tour the country in a broken sentence, … uttered a “As you will?”.
The instructing continued: “A map of all you find, you will bring to me.”
Mapmaking. The quest the great and proclaimed nearly all powerful warlord, magician master of all of Denegrim needs a group of youngsters for is mapmaking. “He hasn’t done anything for me, he hasn’t provided me with anything, he hasn’t even bothered to change anything to the stupid and redundant psychological study system that tries to divide people into 8 categories.” Resounded within Tendums mind. With a deep sigh in his mind, Tendum replied in sync with the rest of the group: “As you will”.
“Your final instruction is to name them to me. Once you can no longer remember the places you have visited, you may return and deliver.”
“As you will”, the group replied once more. Tendum was still not convinced this entity was supposed to be their grand leader. “What was with the shady behavior? Did he really need to hide his body from the handful of people that came specifically to serve him? Why was it so incredibly important that this remained a secret? It wasn’t like anyone wasn’t going to be asking them what the reason for their visitation was. And if the dictator was not in fact such a great warrior, he could at the very least have resorted to sending out letters. What was with all these shenanigans and secrecy?...” The chain of thought was broken.
“Shame is a powerful tool”, The deep voice seemingly replied. “And exactly why you wisely do not openly speak your mind against your dictator. But there is no place you could hope to hide from me. Skilled warriors don’t need protection to strike their enemies.” Tendum took a moment to swallow his pride. “You will do my bidding, worse yet. You specifically will reread your mind and remember every location you visit. And visit them all you shall.” Before Tendum had a chance to response, the voice continued to address the others. “Now leave before your body submits entirely to my authority too. ”
Tendum woke up with the sound of doors slamming shut behind him. The memory of that red shirt underneath the piercing gaze still staining his eyelids, he felt like something unexplainable had just happened to him.
“Haha, I knew it, dude! This guy is the real deal. Just look at the authority this guy has. I couldn’t move! I couldn’t even resist. And I’m said to be the brains of the party. I better not get to close to this place again or I might just start growing bodily hair just to conform to the emperors will. Whoohoo!”
Couldn’t she shut up? Didn’t she realize we were just mind controlled by some sick trick? “Hey, mind control doesn’t share your excitement. And there’s good reason for the brains of the party to shut it.” “Yeah, sure. That’s what all these barriers here are for. Let’s face it, you felt it too. You felt the power. The real unbridled power of authority. And you even listened to it twice in a row, now. Sounds to me like that’s pretty consistent. But hey, don’t dally on your defeat to be your own man, we can still get you a book and have you hallucinate on fertility.” The words would have driven Tendum to more spite if he actually cared about books. Sadly for him, the decision to rush back into the room was met with a fully lit room. Clearly visible torches and open, curtain free windows revealed not a single person inside. Not before hundreds of fangirls stormed in, nearly trampling our hero and the rest of the party.
Staring at the blankness of what once might become his greatest adversary and role model alike, Tendum couldn’t suppress the urge to go out and have a look at all of Denegrim. Marking the beginning of his adventure, he spend the next month working for gold, preparing to leave and gathering supporters to fund his religions representation in parliament.
But it wasn’t long before Tendum noticed a surprising change in the atmosphere. The people here were, without a doubt, the tallest among those that lived in Denegrim. With more than a few being several feet taller than Tendum, he expected there to be some form of corruption ongoing. Corruption he was introduced to in the form of an encounter with The Ogres Militants Camp.