Rebel Planet: Introduction
By James Walker
Different reason to Sorcerer's World, but a similar set-up, so I'll try to make future stuff link to both, with Sorcerer's World as the light take & Rebel planet a bit darker. Hope you enjoy.
The old Impudite waited patiently as the children huddled together. Outside the carbon storm raged, diamond sharp dust ripping at the stone walls. The storm would not breach the walls tonight, he thought. Still, he would be pleased when a new lair had been cut out of the bedrock. His calm communicated itself to the humans who ruled him. They would have lashed out at most other demons, he knew, punished them for their own fear. But he was as much a pet as a slave, and would remain so - so long as he didn't take advantage of his position. He was content. The children quietened, and prepared to listen to his story. Many adults watched; if asked they would plead boredom but many were looking forward to his story, anything to forget the storm. So he began his tale, in Helltongue, now the common tongue of humanity:
"In the beginning, was the Lightbringer.
His hand stirred the murky waters, and bred strife where there had been merely stasis. Through his power he created the Mighty, tested in the crucible that even I am too young to remember, that was named Armageddon in the Lightbringers' Tongue. Those who were tested most fiercely, and deemed themselves mightiest, strode out of the carnage: The Liars - Strife and Fate; the Graspers - Ploy & Terror; the Destroyers - Fire & Theft; the Punishers - greed & device; the Possessors - Death & Strife; the Leeches - Desire & Mockery; and finally Murmur the Skulker & Jeerer the Frightener. Behind them were the shattered remains of those who had failed, not lived up to the Lightbringer's hopes; they are forever gone, though some Liars have stolen the gifts the Lightbringer gave them for the test.
Yet not all had been tested so harshly. Some had been created late in the test, and had huddled at the edges and fled early. They crept out, beneath the feet of the Mighty. And the Mighty laughed and jeered and hated, and would smash the little ones at will. Yet the Lightbringer (who is mightier than all of the Mighty were combined) would not permit the complete destruction of the little ones, for they had survived Armageddon, and were therefore worthy to claim to be his creations. So they survived. They were kept as slaves, of course; made to do the biding of the Mighty. For the Mighty had carved out the great realm of Hell in which to dwell, and on occasion they would travel across eternity to pay tribute to the Lightbringer in his mighty castle, that drifts above eternity, blazing with the Light which he brought; and they had need of slaves to work the other lands which they held, the vast reaches of Night and the wastelands of Earth. And the Mighty created other servants, like themselves but smaller.
And these you know of, for I am one; I remember being Sung into existence to serve Desire. And we seemed very weak compared to the Mighty, and trembled when they spoke, and quailed when they acted. And we were too full of fear of the Mighty to notice the slaves, save when we were ordered to command them by the Mighty. And we were named demons, I know not why, for I feared to ask.
So none noticed that the Lightbringer had granted the little ones, the slaves of the Mighty, the power to breed, to make more little ones. And who would have cared? The Mighty were secure in their power, we servants focused on our fears. And the little slaves grew in numbers, until their was no room in the wastelands for them all, and houses were piled on top of one another until they reached to the sky. And the Mighty grew lazy, deeming that their multitude of slaves could be ordered to any task.
And they were, to every task. The Mighty, and their servant demons, forgot that the Lightbringer had tested them during their creation, and demanded that thy deserve the title of Mighty. They judged themselves by how many slaves they owned, and bickered over who owned which slave; pleasure became the easily won praises of a slave, not the hard earned words of a fellow demon. Demons, and then even the Mighty, started to need their slaves. Leeches like myself were pained by their deaths; the Frighteners needed slaves to terrify; the Possessors needed them to travel in. And the slaves grew strong.
So things might have continued, save for Ploy. He desired the deaths of others of the Mighty, who had insulted him long ago. No tale tells what bauble Theft stole from him, nor whether it was the loss of the bauble which caused Mockery & Jeerer to laugh in his face. But Ploy no longer had the courage to face another of the Mighty in combat. So he schemed to cause the slaves to rise up and hurt his foes. He did not imagine that they could destroy them, but he hoped that the humiliation of being hurt by slaves would cause the other Mighty to destroy them, that their reputation would not be sullied. He reckoned without the cunning and courage of the slaves.
Set to the task of hurting the Mighty, mere demons would have quailed. But the slaves were used to facing foes mightier than themselves, and proved worthy, as the Lightbringer had known they would when he created them long ago. Knowing the weaknesses to which even the Mighty had succumbed, they swore great oaths in secret bound by dark spells and intricate rituals, so that they would fall dead if a Leech disobeyed the command of a human in their sight. And weaving a spell so that all might view Mockery & Desire, their leaders stood before them and demanded obedience. And the Mighty Leeches saw their plight. Quailing in fear they spoke soft words, hoping to dissuade their slaves. But the slaves spoke as they wished, demanding that the Mighty Leeches work together to destroy the other Mighty. And the Leeches smiled, for they hated their fellows, and deemed this a small price to pay.
And how many died when the slaves rebelled? Countless demons. Still more of the slaves. Yet there where many more slaves than demons, and when a slave died he rose again as a undead warrior. The Mighty could not help, for they were in a panic, for many of their number were dead - Fire was dead, and Fate was dead; Strife was killed when he visited the wastelands to end the rebellion. For the Mighty Leeches who had slain all three had hidden their work, assassinating each rival in secret.
Yet finally Terror uncovered the truth, for Ploy was terrified of his involvement being revealed. And Terror denounced him, and Ploy was destroyed by the other Mighty. And then Terror was destroyed, for the Mighty Leeches realised that she would soon detect them. But some of Terror's demons saw, and fled, revealing the plot to the remaining Mighty. And they thought how to destroy the Leeches.
Finally Death spoke. He had waxed strong with the war in the wastelands. He promised to destroy both Desire & Mockery, but on this condition - that the wastelands would be forever his, and that he could slay every slave. And fearing for their lives, the remaining Mighty agreed; and Death, stronger than any of the Mighty had ever been, killed the Leeches, before coming to the Wastelands to slaughter the slaves.
The wastelands were in the hands of the slaves. The remaining demons had been bound by sorcery to obedience. And I was there when the message was brought, that Death was coming. The leaders of the slaves - who we now call the lords - nodded gravely, and taught their servants a new Song, one that they had learnt from Mockery, that could restore life to a body. And they bade a demon of death to call his master, while thousands apon thousands of slaves sang the Song.
And death came. He was a Possessor, and he had the power to possess a body even if it was dead. The corpse stood, and prepared to speak - and was restored to life by the Songs of the slaves.
The corpse was already battered and beaten, burned and bludgeoned. Every time it's soul was drawn back it died instantly, drawing the possessor nearer to oblivion. Yet Death would not heal the body, for that would betray his name. So he stood there, screaming, as endless deaths were inflicted on him. Finally, the torment was to great, and the body burned away. Death hung there, a dark decaying cloud. A score of times he sought to posses a body; a score of times the body burned away. Finally he fled, cursing the slaves, back to his realm in Hell. There he proclaimed that a world of death he had earned, and a world he would have; to this day he wanders Hell killing all he finds. Alone of the Mighty he remains, for he slew the others; and they are forgotten. But the little slaves who were too strong for him remain; they are known by many names - Sorcerers, Enchanters, Singers, Virtuosos. You are their descendants.
In a few short years, each of you will be able to earn the title of Mighty. For as the Lightbringer planned, your race now rules the Wastelands, ruling demons and ethereals, creating golems and zombis. Your Songs are the Songs of power, your words the commands that must be obeyed. Accept the obedience of those who submit, and destroy those who will not. For this is your world.
And, I think, it is time you were all in bed."
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