I Came, I Saw, I Slaughtered
Where no Keeper has gone before...
Asmodeus and Brachus stared with interest, and above all bewilderment, at
the array of tapestries hanging on the office wall. The Keeper stood by
patiently, it's insubstantial arms folded, fingers drumming. The Mentors
could detect that the patience that was present a short while ago was
wearing very thin.
"It's intriguing, Master," Asmodeus said politely.
"And?" said the Keeper, raising a metaphorical eyebrow.
"Well," said Brachus, "Isn't it a bit...well..."
The Keeper leaned forward, it's eyes stopping inches from Brachus'
"Dangerous," said Asmodeus, "Is what my learned friend is trying to
"That's as may be," said the Keeper, it's dual voice echoing in the
chamber. It picked up a Dwarf's ribcage that Brachus had been using as a
parchment rack. "But it is necessary. If it's one thing that being a Keeper
has taught me, it's that no-one should be paymaster to a fat, bored, lazy
army. Because if you are..."
The Keeper slowly and deliberately crushed the ribcage. "Then the
odds are stacked much more heavily against you during an assault."
"But, Master," implored Asmodeus, "There have been no incursions from
the humans above since the defeat of Brandicor six months ago. And now that
you are a living entity in your own right, surely..."
But the Keeper interrupted. "Ah, I may be a living entity, but I
still rely on the Dungeon Heart for my lifeforce, even though I can move a
great distance from it. It would be foolhardy of me to assume that I could
withstand a large assault from a massed rebellion of surface dwellers. If
enough of them got in and destroyed the Heart, they would also destroy me."
"So why do you want to leave?" said Brachus, "Surely the army of
undead that you have amassed alone could crush any opposition. Never mind
the hordes of Goblins and Trolls that have rallied to your cause."
"Having troops is all very well," said Asmodeus, "But I see the
Keeper's point. If a battalion of fighters got in here with a whole chapter
of the local holy orders, they could lay waste to all the Vampires we have
in an instant, and our advantage would be lost."
Brachus nodded. "So we have no other option."
The Keeper nodded. "We have seen the Uplanders start to turn towards
their churches, chapels and monasteries for guidance in these troubled
times. It's only a matter of time before a crusade is launched against me."
Asmodeus looked once more at the tapestries. The arcane script that
was scribbled on them was the work of a madman. A genius, there is no
doubt, but a madman nonetheless. He shook his head. "Very well, Master. It
shall be done. But I should warn you that the Warlocks will probably be
killed if they perform this ritual."
"A sacrifice is sometimes necessary, Asmodeus," hissed the Keeper.
"Besides, I cannot take any of them with me."
Asmodeus smiled faintly. "True, Master. Very true."
Brachus started taking the tapestries down. "I shall take these to
the library and make the necessary preparations."
"Good," said the Keeper. It turned from it's Mentors and left the
"I don't like it!" said Brachus. "It's an unnecessary waste!"
"That's all right," said Asmodeus, "Because you're not coming with us
Brachus glared at his colleague. "What?"
"You're staying here and guarding the home roost. The Keeper has
decided to trust my judgment on these matters as I seem to be the only one
of us that has demonstrated any support for this scheme."
Brachus' face reddened considerably as he became more an more
flustered. "I can't believe I'm hearing this! I have served Calisto
faithfully these many years, and I will not see our partnership
"Partnership? We are servants, pure and simple, Brachus. I would have
thought you'd have learnt that by now." Asmodeus reached into his robe and
pulled out a dagger. "But, alas, I'm afraid you never will."
Brachus, a surprisingly speedy man for his bulk, cast the tapestries
aside and ran screaming at Asmodeus, hatred boiling in his veins. "I never
liked you, you conniving bastard!" He grabbed Asmodues' wrist and tried to
twist the dagger's blade towards the belly of its wielder.
"The feeling is mutual," replied Asmodeus with a slight strain in his
voice. Brachus was very strong, his weight lending him a considerable
They wheedled around the room in this fashion for some time, knocking
over chairs, crashing into the desk, sending quills and inkpots flying in
all directions. This confrontation had been coming for a long time, and it
showed in every twitching muscle on the combatants faces, every bead of
sweat that slid from their brows.
Asmodeus managed a kick on Brachus' shin, but he was overbalanced,
landing in a heap underneath his large opponent. The dagger skittered
across the floor, going underneath the desk. Brachus clamped his hands
tightly round Asmodeus' throat and squeezed. The Mentor's eyes bulged out
of their sockets as he gasped for breath.
"Goodbye, Asmodeus," said Brachus triumphantly, "See you in Hell."
Suddenly, there was a thud, and Brachus stiffened. A muffled cry
escaped his trembling lips and he collapsed on top of Asmodeus once more. A
pick-axe was protruding from Brachus' back.
Asmodeus managed to slide out from under the huge body and saw an Imp
standing behind it. It saluted proudly, retrieved it's pick-axe, and
scurried off into the corridor.
The Mentor got shakily to his feet and made a mental note not to kick
that particular Imp. He looked down at the body. Poor, foolish Brachus. Did
he not know when his time was up? He obviously never understood dungeon
politics. Survival of the fittest was the name of the game, and if that
meant sucking up to the boss to get a promotion, then you could not allow
yourself to show an inch of pride or ingratitude.
"I see the best man won," said the Keeper's disembodied voice.
Asmodeus calmly picked up the tapestries, rolling them together. "As
my late colleague was saying, sir, I will take these to the library and
make the necessary preparations."
"Very good, Asmodeus." The Keeper fell silent.
Asmodeus smiled and walked briskly along the corridors. He marched
past the squeals of delight coming from the torture chamber. Now was not
the time for a spot of voyeurism.
His journey took him through a massive lair chamber, where all manner
of creatures cohabited in a rather tenuous show of allegiance. Bile Demons
glanced sideways at the Goblins who occupied several beds close by. A troop
of skeletons marched through, ignoring the angry cries of the Bile Demons.
Warlocks were snoozing on their thrones, fidgeting restlessly as their
dreams turned into thoughts of the Vampires that dwelt in a separate lair
elsewhere in the complex.
Asmodeus left the lair behind and entered the library, self-appointed
home of the leader of the Warlocks, Grell. The one-time Wizard of the
Uplanders and right-hand man to Avatar Brandicor looked up when he heard
the Mentor enter.
"Ah, Asmodeus. How good of you to drop by. What brings you here?"
"The trans-dimensional gateway."
"Oh. That nonsense again. You know what it could do to everyone."
"My Master is well aware of the risks, Grell, however he knows that
Brandicor was working on it just before he died. And you and Melkum were
the only ones who would have known how to put it together." Asmodeus
stepped very slowly towards Grell, his eyes hooded and menacing. "We have
been good to you up until now. Let's not spoil it. Hmm?"