The Chronicles of Horny

Based on an idea I had while playing Dungeon Keeper II and watching the Dungeon Keeper III trailer (alas that it will now never be completed!), this tracks the progress of Horny's (aka the Horned Reaper) quest to invade the Overworld. It's written as Horny's view in the events to follow (though a few scenes will be written from a different viewpoint). It is written using the creatures from both Dungeon Keeper I and Dungeon Keeper II (though were the creatures to overlap, such as the Mistress from DK I and the Mistress from DK II, the Mistress from DK II is shown).

Disclaimer: None of the characters in this story (excluding the various Keepers) are mine. Horny, the creatures of the Underworld (from both DK I and DK II) and the various Good Heroes (excluding the General Tanus Re) belong to the now-extinct Bullfrog Productions, the chief of which was Peter Molyneux who now works in Lionhead Studios.

Chapter I: Beginnings

"So we are agreed?" I rumbled, making my contempt for this weak creature clear.

"Of course, oh lord Reaper. Mine invincible armies do even now stand, ready to march to victorious battle at a moment's notice," he oiled, bowing, his somewhat greasy hair momentarily lifting from the floor. He was lying, of course. But then again, he couldn't know that I had already seen his so-called 'armies', though the ragtag group of Goblins and Flies he'd assembled stretched the term a little.

"Very well, Tranos. I will allow thee one month to build up thy armies. Once that month is ended, we shall confer in more detail."

"Thank you, lord Reaper. And – my reward? Will I receive that on the same day?" he asked me, his somewhat ugly eyes lighting up in greed.

I sighed, somewhat theatrically, I'll admit. Though the sheer greed of these Keepers was undoubtedly evil, it did tend to get on one's nerves after a while.

"Yes, Tranos. Then thou shalt get thy reward."

"Thank you, oh lord Reaper. I shall never forget your generosity."

"No. You won't," I replied, grinning to myself. Whether he knew or not, that was precisely what I intended…

A thousand and one leagues hence, in the long-forgotten Temple of Hu, an ancient force stirred in its ages long sleep. In its myriad dreams, a thousand legions marched to war, declaring for one side or another. Billions upon billions of Men, Elves, Goblins and Dragons battled. Tooth and claw met sword and arrow, and the air was filled with the screams of the dying, the spurting blood of just slain foes, the smell of sweat and the taste of blood. The force looked down at its hands, which held a great sword at least six feet long. It glanced up, and saw the approaching enemy horde. So this… this was what it was like! The feeling of battle, all the emotions and blood and death! It was exhilarating! All these years, and now it remembered… The feeling of life, and how death, the enemy's death, intensified the feeling until it threatened to overwhelm you! Truly, this was the meaning of life…

In my throne room, I deliberated on the knowledge I had gained. All but one of these self-appointed 'Keepers' had lied to me about their power, each one exaggerating the size of their army. All but one…

The one was Keeper Ire-Tyan, ruler of what had once been Skybird Trill. He was plain-spoken and honest, and not once did he bring up the subject of a reward for his labours. As a matter of fact, I rather liked his refreshing style of talking to me…

"Keeper Ire-Tyan enters the presence of his imperial majesty, Lord Horny, master of the Underworld," my retainers had droned the official courtesies, clearly bored. I made up my mind to decapitate one of them later, when we were alone, so that their resolve should be stiffened. At that moment, however, Ire-Tyan had done something to drive that thought from my mind.

"Do you really need that, your majesty?" he enquired, both interrupting the retainers and cutting through half an hour of tedious flattery.

"Not really, lord Ire-Tyan, but it does tend to impress the tourists," I replied, grinning despite myself. His natural mirth was infectious, and though I made a minor note to pass a new law – automatic execution, preferably in boiling oil, for all who smiled or laughed in the Underworld – I was intrigued enough to allow him both to continue his meeting with me… and to continue living.

"Well, your Hornyness, I daresay it does, but it does rather get on your nerves after a while, doesn't it?" he smiled, ignoring the shocked gasps and spluttering coming from my retainers.

To be honest, his rather cheeky friendliness (that 'your Hornyness' comes to mind) actually caused me to like him even more. As I realised this, I became increasingly confused at myself. To cover my embarrassment, I began the meeting properly.

"How large are your forces, lord Ire-Tyan?"

I already knew, of course, but I wanted to see whether he was another liar.

"Your Hornyness, they are ten times those of the other Keepers, even where they to unite as one. You see, war is a terribly volatile thing, and I judged it prudent to only go to war if I had a large army. Valour, courage, a willingness to die for your lord and an indomitable spirit are fine things, but take second place, after all to valour, courage, a willingness to die, an indomitable spirit and a six to one superiority in numbers," he replied, this time keeping his head slightly bowed, but still up enough to get a good view of my face.

"Well put, my lord! Very well put indeed! I shall remember that one. Oh, and I must commend you on your honesty. Do you know, not a single Keeper this morning has told the truth about their army, and yet you! You did!" I cried out laughing, feeling even more confused and embarrassed but unable to stop.

Ire-Tyan looked shocked.

"You mean you checked the armies of each Keeper, your Hornyness? Why, how very… devious, distrustful… how very evil! I shall have to watch out for you, your Hornyness. You have more than one trick up your sleeve!" he replied, at first in mock horror, but beginning to laugh towards the end of the sentence. We ended up laughing together for several minutes, before he finally saluted with almost parodic efficiency (an act which left me in tears of laughter) and marched out, trying to keep a straight face.

But, despite his impudent manner, I rather liked the young Keeper. He was handsome, certainly, with a noble bearing, but his style of speaking was hilarious!

And yet, somehow, he worried me. His very presence that morning had caused me to be confused, embarrassed and squirming with laughter, things that had not previously occurred. He seemed dangerous to me somehow, and I knew that in the long run he would be more trouble than he was worth…

His army was indeed as large as he said, however, and while before he had come I rather doubted whether the ragtag forces the other Keepers had assembled could have conquered the Overworld, Ire-Tyan's manner and army dispelled those doubts. Here was a Keeper who would be a valuable ally…

And if he failed as an ally, he would have made a very fetching corpse to overhang my throne…

The End of Chapter I

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