The colours that made up the Darkness.
The colours that had been lost along the way.
In service of Darkness, in service of the Overlord, only the strongest survived.
Gnarl had lived long, and forgotten little. He remembered the first Overlord he had served…. A tall man with red coloured eyes, who wore little armour and swung around a mace so large that the head of it had been bigger than he had. It hadn't been a boring life, but it was unusual, so far as the others had told him. That Overlord had preferred to get the blood of his foes on him, and really, only used the Minions for ransacking houses or moving things. Occasionally they got to fight with him, and usually, die.
But, such was the life of a Minion. The Eight Tribes lived to serve.
Ah yes, the days of the Eight Tribes. There were only three Minions still alive that knew such a thing had even happened: Mortis the Blue Minion, Giblet the Brown Minion, and himself.
They were the ones who had shown promise enough to be promoted to roles off the field… which really, was the only way Minions got as old as they were.
Those three had seen Masters come, and seen Masters go. The life of an Overlord tended to be brutal, bloody, and above all, short. The Bloodthirsty Overlord that Gnarl had served first, died shortly after becoming far too well acquainted with a longbow arrow. Mortis was a newborn at the time.
The next Overlord, upon hearing what had happened to his predecessor, demanded that he get some armour. Proper armour.
They had stolen it at first. Getting Minion Gates into the Armouries of Knights, filching their gear and pissing off again had been a simple and easily orchestrated plan. Especially with the Grey Minions, and their special power helping things along.
It took exactly two battles of their newest Master wearing the stolen armour to start the unfortunate ball of their Master's death rolling. The common human dullards mistook their Dark Master for one of the Knights, and ended up fleeing from the other King's Men as a result. They fled beyond the borders of the Grass Sea, and into the Desert, joining up with the Sand People.
Of course the Master went to go and conquer these new lands….. and got eaten by a Sand Worm.
Giblit had just been spawned… literally an hour beforehand.
It was the Reign of the third Master Gnarl had served that saw the changes to the Evil Domain.
The Master wanted people to be afraid of him, for sure. But, he wanted them to be afraid of him and his power alone, not the Knights of some King that he would get around to killing at some point.
And so, the Forge was born.
The Master had been a blacksmith, before he took up the path of bigger and Eviler things. And so, looking at the Knight's armour for design ideas, he forged his own armour, which protected him as well as the Knight's armour would have, but was shaped differently, had different embellishments… and had a clasp he had made in the shape of a Minion face. He was the Overlord and the Master of all Minions, and he wanted people to know it!
The Reds were thrilled. They got to help the Master at home for a change now, and heat the Forge Fires. They weren't good for any other Evil Domestic chores; they burnt everything really, even food, and up until now the most they had done around the place was stand in the corners of a room to warm it up a little.
The Minions had never seen a Master with skills other than making things broken or dead. The last two had been warriors, but this one was a craftsman. So, when he worked the Forge, which he seemed to enjoy just as much as smiting things, he usually had an audience of Minions, watching in wonder.
Giblit had watched very, very intently.
But this Reign did not only bring something new. It also saw the departure of something familiar.
Pink Minions were pretty useless if trundling off into a swathe of opponents. Like Blues, they were rather weak, and were more suited to doing cunning things as opposed to violent things. Their pink skin had a shimmer that, if they were used in a pack, could enchant people and make them more suggestive. They also emitted a sweet perfume, which of course always put them at odds with the more, how to put it, SHARP smell of the Greens.
The smell was actually a gas that would knock most creatures unconscious if they breathed too much of it, but that wasn't what irritated the Assassin Tribe. It smelled SWEET.
It had been a poor day for their Master on the field.
His Horde had been cut down almost entirely in the middle of nowhere, and the only gate they could get through to him was a Pink one. Not at all liking the idea of facing the last room of the King's Dungeon without a full Horde, he resigned to filling the ranks with a swarm of the little pink things.
The few Greens that were still alive were utterly livid at this.
Remarkably, the Master returned to the Burrows a few hours later. And not only did he return, he returned with a half full Horde of Pinks and two Greens in tow.
The Pinks had delivered above and beyond their usual purpose, and helped the Master enough to get the drop on that stupid human King.
The Greens, and the other, more combat orientated Minions were seething.
Minions generally didn't get along with Minions from other Tribes. Least of all ones that had opposite natures. Reds and Blues didn't go well. Oranges and Yellows were always at odds. And Pinks and Greens were constantly at each other's throats.
The Master had foreseen the Greens would be pissed at the help the Pinks had given him, and had specifically given the Tribe a short, sharp order to leave them be. Even though they were about as angry as they had ever been, over this…. This…. PINK VICTORY… they had been given an order by the Master, and so, they would obey.
What the Master hadn't counted on however, were the OTHER Tribes.
Oranges were biters. They had massive fangs that could tear the head off a Bear, and they also had several shark like rows of teeth to shred flesh, and jaws strong enough to crush bone.
Their Gate had been the next closest. The very next. They might have been able to push it through to the Master had those stupid, sweet smelling PINKS not been in the way. They were so angry it made them irrational. They were so furious it filled them with twitchy, violent energy.
And when a Pink came out of the Pink Hive, and waved at them, they were pushed over the edge… and did something no other Minion Tribe had ever done before, and has never done since.
They attacked the Hive.
Above, the Master noticed some of the Pink Minions milling about coughing. Falling to their knees. Their colour was draining until they were mostly white, and their eyes were sinking into their heads until they were nothing but sockets.
Some of them were already dead.
Those that weren't were pulling themselves as fast as they could to the Burrows below.
The Master ran ahead of them.
The Pink Hive had once looked something like a swirl of frothy pink jelly, the same sweet smell hissing out of small vents dotted along it in lines.
But now, it looked more like a puddle of honey… dripping over the stones like some sort of spilled drink.
The Pinks nearby… at least, those still alive, were scattered around the area they had once called home, wailing terribly, moaning, and coughing up white goop, which was presumably what their blood looked like. More and more Pinks were dying by the moment…. The Hive was gone. Their source of life was gone….. their anchor to the world…. Was gone.
Furious, the Master spun around, fully prepared to give the Greens the biggest punishment they had ever received… so much so that unborn Minions would feel it!
But he found none of them splattered in pink, and a few of them were actually being sick themselves. And they were all, every single one, huddled around their Hive…. As if to protect it.
Looking around the cavern, he could see the Reds, Blues, and Greys doing the same.
The Yellows, on the other hand, were not guarding their Hive, as such. More like they were defending it with their very lives! The Oranges hadn't been satisfied with the destruction of the Pinks, and had moved on to their more hated colour of Yellow.
Yellows were climbers. They hung ropes and set traps and could climb over almost any surface. Some of them were trying to entangle the enraged Oranges in their ropes, and others were trying to hoist their hive, which looked like an orange ball with ropes dangling out of it at regular intervals, up to the ceiling, where the Oranges wouldn't be able to reach it.
They weren't having much luck.
They weren't as strong as the Oranges, and they were getting slaughtered!
The Master found himself staring in utter disbelief for about three seconds longer than he thought he had, before storming over, and raising his voice to command the Oranges to cease.
One of them tore off his arm.
Now, the Oranges had destroyed a Hive. They had pretty much killed an entire Tribe and were well on their way to ending a second one, but hurting the MASTER had been going too far.
The Reds and Browns and Greens jumped into the fray, and the Greys all swarmed around their injured Overlord, hugging him, and using their ability to pull him to the relative safety of the other side of the cavern, where the Blues stood waiting to heal his arm.
Needless to mention the Master was rather annoyed. Furious, even. He wasn't sure where this slip of command had happened but he didn't much care. The Oranges were out of control. They were foaming at the jaws and shredding anything they could get their maw around.
The Master knew better than to let this out of control Tribe massacre his army. He had found some use for the Oranges, but he would not find any use for them if they did not obey his commands anymore!
So, as soon as his arm was restored to him, he picked up his sword… and headed for the unguarded Orange hive.
With a single, powerful strike of his blade, the Hive, which rather looked like nothing more than a set of teeth, was cleft in two.
The Oranges on the other side of the cavern suddenly flopped to the floor, where most of them were continued to be beaten on by the Reds, Greens and Browns. Those that weren't being brutally killed were coughing up a copper coloured liquid.
While all of this had been happening, Mortis, forever the loyal Blue healer, had tried to heal some of the Pinks. Most of them were beyond saving, but those that were still clinging to life he had poured all his magic into. The most he got was a stare from those eyeless sockets, and his patient flopping to the stones.
He tired and tried until the final Pink Minion breathed their last, not before coughing up a lungful of white Minion blood, which the healer was unfortunate to cop a face full of. Coughing and spluttering as his mouth filled with the uncomfortable taste of Minion Blood, he stumbled away from the Pinks…. And wobbled over to the ending battle.
His other Blue brethren had come over as well, and were healing Browns and Greens and Reds, and the last few Oranges were spilling volumes of copper coloured blood over the cavern floor… so much so that it was forming deep pools.
Life was not ready to be kind to Mortis, it seemed. The blood he had managed to half swallow and half inhale had made him feel sick and dizzy, and all it took was a loose stone on the floor to have him flopping to the ground, straight into a pool of Orange Blood.
It had been Gnarl himself, who had pulled the Healer from the puddle of copper, and taken him away from the area. The Grey Minion had seen how valiantly the poor Blue had tried to save the Pinks while the Oranges had been wreaking havoc for both Minion and Master, and how badly he had failed it.
So, while the clean-up began, Gnarl took Mortis to the underground river, and dipped him in it.
Usually, a wounded Blue would relax when placed in water.
But Mortis suddenly started pitching about and struggling, before violently throwing off Gnarl's grip and scrambling to the shore, collapsing in a panting heap.
Concerned, Gnarl leant close to the Blue and prodded him with a grey finger.
Mortis slowly looked up at him with unfocused white eyes.
Dull, lifeless white eyes.
And later, Gnarl would discover, the Healer's teeth had become copper. The blood of Minions was something not seen often, although they died as part of their work. But very few things actually made a Minion bleed. The destruction of your hive, clearly, was one of them.
And the properties of Minion blood was not something that had been…. Tested, exactly.
And so, eight Tribes became Six. No Minion left their Hive that night.