What happens when evil has found a way? And won?
Darkness, or is it? A void perhaps, yes, a void. No light, no shadow, just… nothing. No sensations, no breath, no beating… am I, dead? Was I alive? Am I still living? Where am I anyways? I try to look around, but I am unable, I feel nothing, no limbs, no head, no body. Why? Why can't I feel my body? Do I still have a body? Did I ever have a body? What am I?
A sound! I can hear a sound! But what is it? It sounds like someone is trying to say something. Trying to tell me, something. I, I can't make it out, what are they saying? Who is talking? Are they talking to me? Speak louder, I can't hear you! Please. Where am I! … …. … The sound has stopped. I am alone. I… don't want to be alone. I want… friends. I want… family. I… I… I WANT TO LIVE!
The void slowly fades to darkness, a stark contrast unlike any most have ever seen. Still light does not enter this world of sightless darkness, but still the darkness is different from the nothingness of the void. A clear voice speaks up, deep, and gravelly, "In a world where evil has won and good is now the hunted. A world of death, destruction, chaos, and suffering. Where thieves steal the things of value from others without so much as a word else wise." As the voice mentions this, the image of some average male walks up to another man, and simply takes their coin purse, the victim clearly startled at first, then looks forlorn after the thief as the first one walks away.
"Cut throats that kill in plain view of the public with nary a cry or alarm." The vision changes to one guy, obviously doing better off than those around him, arguing with another whom looks impoverished, but not as though they weren't fed. Out of nowhere a third man enters, and stabs the rich looking man with a sword, plunged from behind into his chest. Not one person is alarmed, and many rushing to pick clean the dying mercantilist, and no one weeps for the murdered.
"Arsonists gleefully making marry setting fire to buildings in full view of everyone and none to stop them." Again, the vision changes, now showing some spindly looking person, no clear features as to if is man or woman. Dancing around the base of a building, stopping every once and a while to slosh some sort of liquid onto the structure. After running out of the liquid they start to pile wood at the base of the building. Once they felt they were finished, the individual fetches an unlit torch, and some flint. Lighting the torch, they throw it at the kindling surrounding the building, and watches as the wood, and liquid quickly speeds the fire to catching the structure ablaze. Soon, screams are heard from within, and quickly the occupants exit the burning building, some even on fire themselves. And yet no one has approached the clear perpetrator of the fire.
"Community leaders leading with Iron hands, and ruled only by their greed." Another image comes forth, this one of a lavished, over fed land lord whom held the land of an entire town in his name with a small army that he employs to keep the citizens paying him with riches, crafts, and other fine items; and offering 'tributes.' Lounging on a long chair, carelessly chewing on a drumstick as a 'tenant' and his family beg for an extension on their dues. With but one look to his guard, the young daughter is taken prisoner, in fear for the safety of his daughter, the man attacks the guard, but doesn't even get close as three other guards rush him. When they back away, the sounds of metal sliding against flesh echoes when they remove their short blades from the doomed man's gut. Falling to his knees, he reaches out a single hand toward his daughter, where the guard holding her unsheathes his sword and runs the man through his heart. Disgusted with the sight of the dying man, the lord waves his hand at the man, and his guards drag off the body as the man draws his final breath. The wife, in shock, can only look after her former husband as his body is dragged from the meeting room. The daughter merely glares at the lord, tears swelling in her eyes. But the lord doesn't notice, as he looking at the figure of the recently widowed wife. Licking his lips, he quickly nods with his head at the guard holding the daughter to leave, and snaps his fingers before pointing to the grieving woman. As the doors to the room closes, it can be seen that guards are lifting the woman, and ushering her toward the lord, a certain sheen in his eyes. And the woman fighting against the guards pushing her ever nearer toward the vile glutton.
When the doors close, the vision disappears, and suddenly is replaced with the light of a nearby torch burning brightly to the side, a dank looking room. He blinks, and the sight remains the same. Just before he is about to move his head, a face leans in from the opposite side of his sight. A gnarled old face, graying, and slightly blinded eyes. A stone tied by some leather string dangling from a post of some sort, shining somehow, illuminated the rest of the faces features that the torch did not. Long, pointed ears, slightly bent down. Bell shaped eyes that seemed to glow slightly with a tinge of yellow. And the grin. No teeth, but if it did have teeth left, they certainly would have made the grin look more like a hungry smile than a pleasant one. The creature spoke. Its voice unlike the one before, a slightly higher pitched, but no less gravelly tone to it. "Makes one wonder just what they can do to set themselves apart from the common rift raft, as a true bastion of evil, doesn't it, my lord? In a world where everyone is evil, and no one cares what happens. We've certainly got our work cut out for us. So, let's not dawdle, and get right to it shall we?" The face leans away, backwards… realizing he is lying down, he tests his arms, and slowly, painfully they rise and grip the edges of some sort of box. As he pulls himself up he hears another voice, this one not so gravelly as the other two, and much higher pitched than the old one.
"But, I haven't finished my story!" Sitting up, he sees another one with a face similar to the older one, but missing an eye, and wearing a jester's hat. The new one also seemed younger, and less hunched, scrappy looking, but also like it hadn't eaten in months, skin and bones, yet it still looked as if it could take on any healthy man in a fight. Turning his head to take in his surroundings, the older one speaks, "But Quaver, how can you finish your story, when it hasn't even yet begun?"
The creatures, minions, they called themselves, lead him throw darkly lit tunnels. Toward some place, that the older one said would explain much more than he could. The minion Jester, Quaver, seemed to easily become bored, and took bouts of walking on his hands, or juggling some baton with a small skull tied to it along with a mini jester's hat of its own. As irksome as this childlike behavior was to him, he found it still to be amusing at times, especially when the minion missed a 'step' with his hand and fell, or when he misjudged the baton and it ended up dropping on his head or foot. Idly, he mused to himself what sort of thing would cause this minion to take up the role of comedy, poor performance though it was? The older minion had introduced itself as Gnarl, oddly appropriate considering its appearances. Shortly after he was able to stand on his own, and stepped out of what had apparently been a coffin, something he means to ask about when they get to wherever they were going, the older one had introduced itself and its title as caretaker of the minion hordes, and of its master, the Overlord.
At the start of their little sojourn, Gnarl had mentioned that the Overlord was a title for those that would lead evil in rule over the world. And was the master of multitudes of minion hordes, the Overlord's constant army, servants, and means toward whatever end he sought to procure. Four types, browns, like themselves, were the mainstay of an Overlord's army, the fighters. Tough brutes, with rarely any brains between the lot of them, but adept fighters nonetheless, and despite their small stature, as strong as any normal human being. The others types, held special abilities, reds were fire beings, as such able to craft magical fire from some unknown mechanism, or at least, unknown to Gnarl and Quaver. The greens were the hunters, their supposed lack of hygiene allowed them to blend with most cover of nature, and when set to guard, could utilize a natural ability to blend into the background of wherever they are stationed.
Finally the blues, these minions are the magic users of the lot. Virtually immune to any form of pure magic, and especially adept at handling magical creatures. The blues also have two unique features about them, the first is that for some reason, either due to their magic, or some unspecified innate ability, they could not only enter water, but could breath underwater, as well as swim, unlike the other three which can't even touch water, much less swim in it. When he asked why, both Gnarl and Quaver looked away in silence, but didn't bother to answer him. He resolved to ask about the reason at a later time. They did however volunteer the other attribute of the blue minions. That due to their magical nature, blues had the ability to resurrect fallen minions that they are nearby, or directed to.
In all, it was a lot to take in, much less on faith. Here he was, supposedly freshly risen from the dead, and he was going to be the leader of not just these four minion hordes, but of all evil in the world. A world, that if what that voice said was true, was more evil now than at any time in its past. Which left him feeling uneasy. Not that the world being evil was necessarily a bad thing, but that he knew that the world didn't use to be like this, yet having no memory of who he was, of what his life was like before he had 'died,' or why it was wrong that evil was running around, rampant and uncontrolled. It was only then that he realized, that the voice that had narrated the story of the state of the world had been different than that of the two walking in front of him. And though Gnarl had attributed Quaver as the story teller, Quaver's voice was obviously not a deep throated, gravelly, rumbling tone.
Once more he opens his mouth to try and speak. This time, instead of the hoarse whisper that was all he could manage down in the tomb, a slightly stronger, and more grave sounding voice emerged. "Gnarl." The older minion turned its head and shoulders to look toward him, "Yes my lord?"
"When I was… waking up. I heard someone speaking about the state of affairs the world is in. Yet, there was only the two of you down there. Who was it that was speaking to me when I was still in the coffin?" The older minion smiled that toothless smile of his "Why, it was Quaver of course my lord." Confused, he looked at Quaver looking all proud and giddy. "How?" With this question, Quaver slumped, looking defeated. Gnarl chuckled softly, and answered the question, "Simple my lord, his prop has a little gizmo that our head smith made for Quaver some time ago. It is able to make Quaver's voice sound much more intimidating than it really is. But, instead of using it to be fearsome, ol' Quaver simply uses it to add a dramatic flair to some of his musings. It's one of the few things about his behavior that I can tolerate." His response was to lift one of his eyebrows in a show of confusion. "Oh, nothing really my lord, I annoy him, he annoys me, we just sometimes pass the time annoying each other in turn. Oh, the pranks I'd used to pull on him when I was younger… now, he's the one pulling them on me." With this last bit Gnarl looks with wide, menacing eyes toward Quaver, who's only response was to simply stick out his tongue. When Quaver did so, he could see that the tongue had been cut, split, and torn repeatedly, presumably from past times that he had stuck out his tongue. With this display, he could only think of one response. "Ah."
And so they returned to their silent pace, trudging forward in the seemingly endless hall. But, without warning, they had come to the exit of the hall, and now stood in a vast underground cavern. There was barely any light at all down here, and what little there was came from softly glowing rocks way down at the bottom of the cave. Gnarl stepped forward a few feet, and turned toward him, and with an apparent effort flourished while announcing, "This! Is the Neitherworld, the place from where your evil dominion of this world shall spread." Letting down his arms, Gnarl turned slightly and pointed to what at first appeared to be a large rock jutting down from the ceiling of the cavern, "And that, is your evil lair, Overlord."
Looking at the big rock, he could now see cave openings here and there within it. "What? That beat up piece of shit is to be my new evil lair?" Gnarl visibly flinched at the description, "I know, I know, it doesn't look like much now, but that sort of thing happens when self proclaimed heroes come storming in to end the reign of an Overlord. And in the process looted or destroyed anything they thought was of value, or useful. Come, come, we've still yet a ways to go to get there. Maybe when you see it up close you won't mind it so much." With this Gnarl began his way along a rock covered ledge leading around the wall as far as the eye could see in the darkness of the cavern. Quaver following quickly after. Seeing nowhere else to go, he followed the both of them. Thankfully the ledge was wide enough that he didn't have to press himself to the wall to pass.
And so they traveled, ever further along the ledge, occasionally it would either narrow, or widen. At the wider spots, Gnarl would find a rock tall enough to sit on, and catch his breath before getting up and continuing on. He hadn't really noticed it till he looked back at one of these stops, but the ledge was actually slopping upwards. He could just make out where they started from below him and a slight bit away from them. And while he knew that they had been walking for some time, it didn't occur to him that they could have already circled the cavern, as big as it was. Growing annoyed, he contemplated the issue of sounding like a child and asking if they were there yet, when Quaver let out a whoop, and suddenly sprinted forward. In the short distance ahead, he could see a dinky wood bridge spanning the gap between the ledge and the ceiling rock.
Amazingly, the rock was much closer now than when they had started below. And as such the bridge didn't cross so much a chasm, as much as a crevice in the rock face. He heard Gnarl sigh, and mutter something to himself. He felt he could guess what Gnarl was saying, and as such didn't indulge his curiosity, "You doing okay old man?" He politely asks. Gnarl, simply looked up at him, and blinked. "I'm no spring chicken, as the saying goes, but I'd appreciate it if you didn't confuse me for your kind sire." He looked back at Gnarl as Gnarl continued to look up at him, "What then? You want that I should call you old guy?" Gnarl blinked again, then started to snorted, trying to suppress his laughter. After a few moments of this, Gnarl took a deep breath and let it out in a slow sigh, with a wave of his hand Gnarl mentions for him to follow.
The wood bridge seemed sturdy, no rotten planks. Quaver was obviously happy to be back in this giant rock, as he cart wheeled, and jumped about the open grounds of the lair. Gnarl looked behind him every now and again to make sure the overlord was still following. He led him to a large opened spot, with a great hole dug into the rock. Standing at the edge, Gnarl spoke again. "This sire, is the minion barracks. Or rather, it served as the minion barracks when they still lived here. At these four locations," Gnarl paused to point at the big hole, and three other corners, similarly empty. "Both, once held the common grounds of the minion hives, and will do so once more when they return."
Feeling confused, he spoke up interrupting Gnarl, "Wait, I understand that the greens, reds, and blues, always left the lair whenever an Overlord is defeated. But what happened to the browns?" Gnarl let out a larger sigh, "Yes, well, this time, those filthy 'heroes' busted up something that was rather important." Looking over the edge, he beckoned the overlord over, when he had walked up to the edge and looked down, all he saw was solid rock, and something that seemed to be sticking out of it. "They went and broke the heart of darkness sire. Without this source of energy, this place, that was once the greatest concentrated spot of evil energy left to exist, lost all of the concentrated evil it held. Oh, if only you could have seen it when it was full of malice, and deceit. The sheer force of evil inside the heart turned all the rock below into lava, and kept this place warm, and lit.
Now, without it, the lair grows colder with each passing year. And without the heart, it could no longer sustain the minion hives. So all but a few of us, left." Looking at the broken stump of… something, his attention was brought back when Gnarl mentioned others. "There are more?" From behind him a deep, bubbling sounding voice, spoke, "Yes sire. There are still some of us here left. Aside from myself, chief Gnarl, and your bumbling fool of a jester." At which time a distance whoop was heard, "The smith, and five other browns remain." Looking at the source of the voice, he was surprised to find a blue minion, wearing some sort of ceremonial cloth draping over its shoulder. Though clearly not young, it also clearly wasn't as old as Gnarl. Turning his head in the direction of Gnarl but keeping his eyes locked with the new minion, he posed the question, "Gnarl?"
"Yes, sire, how rude of me. This is Mortis. Our resident blues leader. For some reason, he's the only blue that stays behind whenever they leave, but at least it improves the company to keep. Quaver isn't exactly… the best conversational partner." Finally breaking eye contact he looks at Gnarl and asks him, "Did any from the other tribes stay behind as well?" Before Gnarl could answer, the blue minion identified as Mortis speaks up, "No." And offered no explanation. Looking back to Gnarl with a raised eyebrow, and a questioning gaze, Gnarl responds, "Well, as Mortis says, no members of the red or green minions stayed behind. But, as your personal servants, myself, Mortis, Quaver," Gnarl shutters as he says the name, "and your smith Gibblet, we stayed behind. The other five browns were ones that Mortis raised from the river of the dead once we were able to collect the necessary life force to bring them back. They're not all that strong or experienced, but they'll suffice, for now.
Yet, all of that matters not, nor does gathering more life force. There is only enough evil energy left here for the nine of us, plus one more. We're, uh, we're stilling looking for him in the river." Preplexed, about the mention of a river, and browns in the same sentence, he asks a single word, "River?" Gnarl blinks, then reacts as the question registers, "Oh, yes, yes, you never worked with it before. Mortis, as the leader of the blues, is afforded certain powers. From any source of flowing water, he can locate any fallen minion, well recently fallen minion, and for an exchange of equivalent life force, resurrect the minion from the dead. Unlike regular blues, whom must retrieve a fallen minion before the magic holding them together dissipates to revive them. Mortis can bring back the minions that couldn't be brought back before they disappeared." Not sure he really understood that, he only nods and replies with a simple "Oh."
Feeling though that he forgot something, he looks back over the edge at the broken thing. And voices his question, "So how do we get back the evil energy, and the minions?" Once more Mortis speaks up, "Simple really, you must build a new heart, without it this place cannot contain the essence of evil needed to recharge the minion hives." Turning to look at Mortis, he poses the obvious question, "And how do I do that?" Neither answered, so he looks between the two of them for several moments, before getting irritated, "Well?" Speaking again, Mortis answers with an unwanted answer, "We do not know." Gnarl picks up where Mortis left off. "You see sire, the heart of darkness is an old, old, old, arcane artifact. So old in fact, that most if not all have forgotten how to make it." He frowns at this news, but Gnarl continues, "But not all is lost my lord. There may still be one person that knows how. But you'll have to go seek their help."
Wanting to get started, he asks, "Who?" Gnarl, seeming to flinch again, less noticeable than before, but there, "You'll have to ask… the priest of the… of the… the…" nearly retching as he forces himself to spit out the name, "THE WHITE STAR!" With this, Quaver is heard yelling out just before falling hard, causing the overlord to look over to him. Quaver was staring in their direction with a look of disbelief. And without warning, screams hysterically, "THE WHITE STAR!" before passing out. Mortis even, with the seemingly forever stoic face seemed rather sick at the mentioning of this name. Once more curious, the overlord asks the obvious question? "So, what is this white star?" The mere mention of the name seemed to make Gnarl queasy. And with much venom in his voice Gnarl responds, "Only the purest source of good left in the world!"
Apparently without the Neitherworld's heart, things like going from one level to another was much harder. The five brown minions that were pulled from death had been working for sometime digging through the stone, cutting passage ways from the separate levels. The tunnels were rough, and a touch cramped. Even digging at twice the height of a lone minion, the tunnels were low ceilinged, causing him to hunch over as he slowly descended to what Gnarl referred as the Foundations of the lair. Which made no sense to him. As the rock hung upside down, wouldn't its 'foundations' be at the top? Regardless, they were slowly working their way down a slope, a warm waft crawling up in opposition, seemingly making it warmer as they went further down. Finally they broke through to a vast room. To one side there was a wooden ring circling a pit of softly glowing earth. The other side led to more of the level, a broken metal casket, with a warped rack hanging loosely from some… well something, he couldn't tell. A bit beyond that was some stairs that led up to a platform, seemingly to nowhere. Perhaps something that worked with this 'lift' Gnarl mentioned. Directly opposite of that was a path that led to a large bucket, and a roaring fire.
Though he could see no firewood, or other fuel, this fire burned with both intensity and purpose. Which he felt was odd to describe a fire as having a purpose, he always heard it, but never seen it. … Wait, did he just remember something? Try as he might, he couldn't place where this, this, memory(?) came from. "hooo. Overlord sire, are you with us. Overrrlorrrd." He was jarred back to the present, noticing Gnarl speaking to him, looking at Gnarl, and grimacing some, he nodded his head just slightly.
"Good, now as I was saying before you went to wherever you did, we weren't able to gather enough metal to forge you any decent armor. Nor a worthy helmet for the matter. But we were able to re-forge the command gauntlet that those vile heroes smashed to pieces." As Gnarl said this, another brown minion was handing him something. He'd been so preoccupied that he didn't even notice when this other minion showed up. But from the sturdy looking helm, eyewear, and the rough hammer hanging from a makeshift leather belt, he guessed this was the smith minion, Gib-let… was it? Gnarl turned around holding something akin to a bracer rather than a gauntlet. Gnarl frowned, "Hrm, I was expecting something more… substantial Giblet. How is our overlord supposed to be dominating if he isn't wearing something more fearsome, you know, something… not like this?" So it was pronounced G-iblet. The minion shrugged its shoulder with a grunting sound changing pitch to sound like a grunted 'I don't know' and then it spoke.
"Was all metal left after weapon and plate." Gnarl looked somewhat incredulous at the minion, "But we rounded up so much of the armors, did all that really not work to make something more substantial than this?" Giblet nodded their head, "metal was weak, most used to make stronger metal. Only enough to make weapon, plate, and Overlord's command." In Gnarl's dissatisfaction, he could see that Gnarl was also dejected, and it made the minion look even older than before. Somehow he actually felt bad for the old minion.
"Forget about it Gnarl, it's just another thing to add to the to do list once we get a proper power base up and running." Gnarl swung his head up to look him in the face, a mixture of horror and hurt in his eyes. Then lowered his head shaking it. "To think that evil is reduced to looking and acting the part of a goody two shoes hero." Somehow this description caused an ache in his chest, making him want to scream out in indignity, but he didn't, he couldn't place why, but it was only an impulse, something that didn't feel like him, now anyways. "Hrmph, you'll get over it. Like you said, we've got so many things to get done, and so much time has already passed, making it that much harder to do. And waiting around won't get it done. So how about we get started?"
The ascent back up and further on was somehow harder, not because of the chest plate he now wore, nor the simple sword at his waist, and certainly not the bracer with a glowing orange jewel embedded in it. If he had to name a reason it was that leaning forward going up, made his footing less sure, so it was also slower going. They had been all but crawling up this particular tunnel for some time now, Gnarl still leading the way, obviously still disheartened by his behavior back in the forge. He didn't know if Gnarl knew it or not, but when the old minion got depressed he sighed a lot. If Gnarl did it more regularly, he could probably of kept time to their pace. Smirking at this thought, even though there was a tinge of self chiding about making fun of another's discomfort. They just continued going up, and up, and up. At this point they actually came upon the other five minions. Apparently they had dug out a rest room when they were working to reach the throne level. All five were lounging in the nest like side 'room' if it could be called that. Gnarl merely gave them a passing glance. As he did, the five all stiffened when he looked in their direction, but the apprehension in them turned to confusion when Gnarl looked away.
He was able to connect that this wasn't like Gnarl at all. "Hold up." Gnarl stopped, turning around carefully in the narrow tunnel, his face somehow looking even sadder than before, and older. "Yes… sire." It wasn't even a question. "I take it that these minions have something they should be doing?"
Gnarl leaned forward somewhat to look into the rest area. "Meh. They could always be cleaning up, but," Gnarl lets out a sigh, "I suppose it doesn't matter." Growing determined at the old minion's depressed attitude, he points at one of the minions, "You! Come over here." The minion gulps and slowly crawls toward the new overlord. As soon as it was within reach, he strikes out his arm and grabs it by the neck and draws it nearer to him. With a grin, he begins, "You're going to go all the way down to the foundations, without stopping, and get Giblet. Tell him to start plans on turning these tunnels into proper stairwells." Extending his arm behind him, he drops the minion down, and points while stressing, "GO!" The minion, slowly at first, then faster, hurried down the tunnel. He could see Gnarl was surprised, pointing to another one, he felt something in him grow, he could just see his jewel starting to glow brighter. Not bothering to voice his command, he turned his hand and beckoned for the next minion to come forward, it tried to crawl slower than the first, quickly getting annoyed, he roughly gestured with his hand pointing in front of him, accompany it with a grunt, the minion quickly hurried up. Looking over to another he sharply cocked his head, and it scurried over. "You two are to look for and collect any scrap metal the lot of you didn't get the first time, and deliver it to Giblet until the tower is free of loose metal that isn't already in use. NOW!" The two jumped slightly then scampered off, edging around Gnarl, which was starting to smile as he watched them run along. Looking at the last two he spoke harshly, "You two! Here! Now!" They rushed over as fast as they could, one slipping several times trying to get there to not get a beating. Leaning his head to his side, smirking, "I should… make you two carry Gnarl the rest of the way up." The two look at Gnarl frightened, Gnarl just grinned with a look of malice back in his eyes. "But I get the impression that he'd think I was soft if I let you do that. So you two get to work clean up duty until we can get some more of your brothers back. No slacking either. Now go." With that he sharply cocked his head in the forward direction, and the last two also scampered off, and around Gnarl, ahead of them both.
Gnarl was already looking younger, and more happy. "Oh, and here I thought that you didn't have any evil in you at all. Not fully evil, but at least it's a promising start. Well then Overlord, shall we get to the throne room and plan your first step toward you eventual domination of evil over the world?" Not waiting for an answer Gnarl turned around and starting moving up the tunnel, at a quicker pace even. He just smirked, at least he got the old minion out of its funk, and with any luck the minions he ordered to work will make some progress with things while he was away.
Hmph. Maybe it was a bit naïve to think it'd be that easy to just jump into the whole world domination thing. Just remembering his thoughts not but a day ago when he gave those five minions their orders. The throne room was in very bad disrepair, so much so that Gnarl insisted he keep to the cover of the halls around the open parlor, or what would have been the open parlor. So much of the ceiling had somehow been dislodged and now laid strewn out over what remained of the floor. And some sort of metal gate in the center had been rent horribly inwards with a large pillar laying across it. About the only piece of the ceiling left above was some sort of broken device centered over the misshapen metallic gateway. Most of the halls and stairways however seemed to remain whole or less damaged. When he was shown what would serve as his quarters, he was almost in disbelief. After everything else, only the private chambers looked to remain untouched. Pilfered of any valuables, yes, but largely unharmed. Statues where left intact, and even the bathing area still functioned, though obviously the water would be cold due to a lack of heat from molten rocks. In fact the only thing that was destroyed was an alcove that Gnarl mentioned once housed the last Overlord's magical spells.
Gnarl had mentioned on several occasions now that there had been overlords before he had been raised. But remained oddly silent on the subject when asked about them, and when pressed would try to opt out by saying something about the past being irrelevant concerning those that came before, and only what mattered was how he would come to rule the world. Heh, rule the world. Somehow it didn't sound all that insane, or at least didn't sound so impossible that it couldn't be done. Yet he often found himself wondering, did he really want to rule over an entire world? Of so many people? Surely this would require help. And if he had to rely on others to help him maintain control, this would lead to betrayal against an overlord, again. Something that he concluded could possibly be the only reason that at least the last, if not several or all overlords fell to. Meaning that if he was to "rule the world" he'd have to find some way to control, not the people, but the more dastardly element; but how?
All he had to go on was the old, worn world map that Gnarl had fetched from what remained of the lair's reference materials. Something that obviously the 'heroes,' or looters after the fact found to be of no interest, or at least thought to useless. It seemed that Gnarl wasn't kidding when he mentioned that anything of value was either looted or destroyed. Apparently though, none of the looters or destroyers thought that books like "Evil Cooking, cooking for your evil master" or "Warriors' Homes and Fighting; Collecter's edition" were worth looting or destroying. But frankly, he kinda agreed. Though it turned out not everything that wasn't destroyed or taken was entirely useless. For example, there was at least a copy of basic swordsman techniques left in the discarded pile, he had tried out a few of the moves in it this morning… or at least he thought it was morning. It was hard to judge time down in the cavern. He had come to the conclusion that at some point, he'd have to order the minions to set up a practice room if he wanted to get better with the use of his weapon.
While practicing however, he did notice that of what muscle remained with him, in his death, that it seemed he was a hard worker in life. Somehow he recognized that his muscles weren't of repeated strength training exercises, but of hard labor. It didn't make the sword he had any less heavy, but he could tell that the sword would be even heavier if his muscles were made any other way. How he could tell he didn't know, but he knew it. This gave him pause once more. Yet something else that must have been from his past life. Memories, or instincts, vague impressions, were all that was left of whoever he used to be. Not even a name remained. Something else that bugged him, he didn't even have a name, just a title. It was something that he paid no attention to at first, but since he awoke today, had come back to haunt him more than once. Having been dead when Gnarl found him, he doubted that Gnarl either knew what his name was, or would tell him even if he did.
He shook his head from side to side; he was letting himself get distracted again, must have been something due to being newly raised from the dead. Another impression told him he didn't used to be like this. Refocusing his attention to the map that Gnarl had pulled out, he couldn't help but frown at the aged appearance of the hide skin map. When he had asked Gnarl about this, Gnarl replied that it was the most recent map left to them. That admittedly the territories may have changed since the commissioning of this particular map, but land marks would still be there, that the map wasn't 'that' old. Then corrected himself by mentioning that one or two of the land marks may have since been torn down by man for 'progress' a word he nearly spat out. All things considered, he wouldn't have pegged Gnarl for being a naturist. Though he suspected that if he accused Gnarl of this, the old minion would take great offense. Even as old as the map was, it was still detailed for being a map of the known world.
According to the map, they, the minions and himself, were nearly at the top of the world, underground. Nearby lands were of ice and snow. From there, there would be small islands south of them, and further on was the larger body of the main land. With several others dotting the ocean much bigger than simple islands, but not nearly as big as the main land. Each of these were their own little nations. And of course all the way at the bottom was more ice and snow. The largest of the lands, the main land, was called Greenvale.