The Demon King

“‘So it comes to this, my son. You would kill your father for power?’ The King lowered his blade from an aggressive high-guard to a more defensive middle-guard as the Prince stood once more.

‘No, father. I only mean to bring peace and justice to the Kingdom. You have been a tyrant here too long.’

‘Fool, so little you know of the world and freedom.’ the King’s robe fell from his armored shoulders and the plates began to clank and buckle over his body. ‘and you know nothing of Tyranny!’

The Prince shielded his eyes as the King’s armor burst, exposing his growing body. Muscles bust and bulged, bones cracked and twisted, and the man’s body was no longer recognizable. His crown fell from his head, replaced by vicious horns, and even his sword grew to complement the new size of the King.

‘You will see. You will see true Tyranny!’ the Demon King rushed the Prince with his left hand, deflecting defensive blows with only his skin. He lifted the Prince into the air.

‘I will show you. Come!’ The Demon King ignored the Prince’s petty attacks on the hand that held him firm as he walked from the battle-ridden throne room to the palace balcony that overlooked the capitol city. All across the sprawling metropolis was fire. Monsters similar to the king rampaged through streets and buildings. The cries of men and women could be heard over the din of battle, as the most powerful men of the Prince’s Rebellion were cut down. The prince looked with horror over the loss of his troops and his hope to fix the kingdom as he dangled over the edge of the balcony.

‘Father… why? There is no reason… no sense.’

‘Reason?! SENSE! No such things exist! There is only Carnage, and Chaos! Rule by strength! That is the only truth of this world!’

‘I … I understand now…’ The prince hung his head in shame.

‘Soon you will underst- wait. What?’ with that, the Prince took the moment of distraction to kick out from the grip of the Demon, just dodging the sword that began chasing him after his escape.

A quick agile maneuver brought the Prince to the throne that used to display a gentle aged man. Holding the back of the throne, he pulled a lever on the wall, which rocked the throne backwards and opened a dark door in the floor. The Demon King was almost upon the Prince as he leaped into the blackness.

A short fall brought the Prince to a moist tunnel under the Throne room. He sprinted as fast as his legs could, making corners quickly and recklessly. A second pit opened in the floor as the Prince triggered a trap tile in the cobblestone floor. He easily cleared the gap, and slammed into a portcullis. With all his strength, The prince could barely lift it an inch before he gave out and it fell back to the floor with a resounding clang.

‘I can hear you, Prince.’ The Demon King shouted from around a few corners.

The Prince examined his options. Weaponless, and cornered, he could not think of anything that would save him from the remnants of his father. The Demon King rounded the corner, almost on his hands and knees to fit in the claustrophobic tunnel. He glared at the Prince.

‘You now cannot flee from me, Prince. Prepare to meet your gods!’

‘Father… I still love you.’

‘Oh, as if. What, you thought some final act of compassion or understanding would save you? Pfah!’ The Demon King advanced, eyes locked on the Prince, wary for any form of deception.

The Demon King came closer and closer, extending his free arm to grab the Prince. The Prince took a step back, and the Demon King raised his sword and pointed it at the Prince. Shuffling Forward, the Demon lunged for his quarry, not noticing the pit trap that still lay open underneath his knees. With a crunch of breaking stone, the ledge the Demon King was advancing on gave way. His free hand clutching at the portcullis, it began to bend. The Prince took hold of the moment and cleared the gap once more, this time using the Demon King’s head as a stepping stone.

As soon as the Prince’s feet landed on the stone floor, the portcullis broke free of its housing, dropping the Demon King further into the pit. The metal gate dug into the walls of the pit, fitting nicely around the entire edge. The Prince did a quick scan of the area, noticing a switch and lever hidden behind some debris in the tunnel. He pulled and tugged at what he could, and the sliding door of the pit began to close. He could hear the thrashing and screaming of the Demon King as the door closed and the ground rumbled from his rage.

The Prince backtracked through the tunnels to the Throne Room, meeting his rear guard.

‘Milord, we were surrounded and have been overrun by demons! We were forced to retreat here. Where is the King? Are we Victorious?’

‘Not quite. The King has been subdued… for now. He revealed himself a a Demon like the others.’

The Prince collected his sword from the ground. He turned to the remainder of his men, who looked to him for orders. He looked out over the burning city, and wondered if it were all worth it. He turned to his men and opened his mouth to speak, as the floor beneath the throne exploded and the Demon King rose from the rubble. The Rear Guard, about 20 men, formed a line immediately in front of the Prince, spears in the rear, shields in the front. The Demon King laughed as the Prince readied his sword again, and ordered a charge.

The Demon King’s sword cut through a Shield and the man who was holding it with a single swipe. Three spears and two swords made contact with the King, deflecting off his flesh as blades off stone. The Prince noticed that the King was keeping his right side away from the troops, absorbing all the hits with his arms and left side.

‘Move to flank! Surround the beast!’ the Prince shouted as he charged. The Demon King had a momentary look of fear on his face.

‘You think mere BLADES will defeat me?!’

‘None is sharper than the Human Spirit!’ The Prince yelled as he and all his troops made stabs for the Demon King’s body.

The Prince’s sword cut into the meat of the Demon King, as did two spears and another guard’s sword. The Demon Howled in Pain.

‘Again!’ The Price shouted as the blades emerged and reentered the Demon King’s Body. Another Howl erupted from the Demon King as his sword found another two Guards and hit the prince. It cut lightly into his flesh as it penetrated his armor.

‘Keep Fighting!’ The Prince managed to order as he fell from the pain of his wound. He clutched his side as the burning fire of pain that the wound produced surged through his body.

‘Now again troops! Strike!’ the Lieutenant shouted to the rest of the guards. ‘And again!’

The Demon King dropped his sword as life – and blood – began to drain from his body with distressing rapidity.

His skin began to lose color as his body shrunk back to the size of a man once again. The Demon King returned to the form that most would recognize. The life sputtered out of the naked King on the rubble of the throne room’s floor as the Prince’s wound ceased to cause agony.

The Prince stood.

‘The King is dead; long live the King!’ the Lieutenant shouted. The rear guard troops saluted and stood at attention. The Lieutenant broke form and collected the crown, extending it to the Prince. The Prince took it reluctantly, and looked down at his fathers corpse.

The King donned the crown, and turned to the balcony. He looked over his city with a mixture of grief and relief. Finally, the Tyranny will end, but the capitol still burnt.

The Lieutenant pulled out his signalling horn, and blew both the Royal Ceasefire and the Rebellion’s Cease Action signals. Slowly, fires throughout the city were extinguished as the Soldiers who fought each other one moment, turned to aid each other the next.

The King turned to his Lieutenant and spoke:

‘General, take your men and organize any of the commoners you can find or rescue to aid in the fires. Leave your four best with me. Record the names of those you find, I want to make sure that all know that they will be cared for.’

‘Sire!’ The General saluted as he left the room. His four best guards remained beside the King.

‘You four are now the leads of the Royal Guard. I give you the titles of Methir, Yorval, Sidnus, and Raneir. You shall bear each of these as your title, and your sons shall bear the name as well.

‘Now go, and help restore order to this land.'”

The Old Bard finished his tale, as he continued to circle the fire. “And that, children, is where we Methir came from. Descendants of that line we are, and undying duty to the king is what keeps us a part of the kingdom, and keeps us in competition with the Yorval, Sidnus, and Raneir.”

The Old Bard motioned the children to stand.

“Someday you will all be great knights serving the king. But now, is the time to feast! Get back to the main fire, and let this old man rest!” The old Bard looked as the children immediately ran off, save one who hesitated to thank the Old Bard before he joined the others.

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