“What in the name of my mother do you think you are DOING?”
Morde found himself being thrown against the ground, then being picked up and thrown against the wall of an empty, burning house, then being thrown against the ground again. Before he could climb to his feet, a two meter horn pierced his shoulder, pinning him in place.
Standing above him was a creature smaller than the spike that had impaled him. Smaller, except for its insanely long tail, which curled and twisted about, snaking around the necks and limbs of Morde’s followers. This creature looked like some sort of Panvok, but much more upright and lacking the ugly features that creatures like Vohra had. All around them were the fruits of Morde’s labour, two hundred dead Banikans, killed by him and his army of fifty beings, mostly Temthans.
“I wanted to summon you, Thantophor. Assuming you are the Thantophor and not a lost guardian to those monstrous Panicatai.”
Morde was a Temthic being. A Cassidilak, a member of a vastly intelligent Temthan subspecies. The last of his kind. He had been planning this for a long time, hence his calm composure. The Thantophor though did not look how he expected.
“I kill in your name, Thantophor. I wish to obtain your blessing.”
Rather than calm down, the Thantophor ripped off the horn of another dead Banikan and stabbed it through Morde’s other shoulder.
“My blessing? Are you fucking serious?”
Arkadin laughed loudly. With a snap of his fingers, Morde’s army found itself trapped in a small cage of burning wires, all stuck in one spot. Morde himself remained pinned on the ground. He watched as the Thantophor wandered round, observing what Morde had done, before burning it all down until all that was left were ashes and skeletons. When the Lord of Death was finished, it turned its attention back to Morde.
“You want my blessing. Yet you killed two hundred of my favourite species.”
Morde nodded. “I knew it would grab your attention and bring you here. These monstrous beings are an extension of your ferocity and your power.”
“No, they’re just a species I particularly like because they’re ferocious and defensive of their lives and families…” Arkadin tutted, then found another horn to stab into Morde’s leg. “You literally killed one of the most docile Banikan villages in this area, Banikans who normally don’t fight back much. Not an impressive feat when you murder innocents.”
The Thantophor glanced at the cage that held Morde’s followers, then turned back to the Cassidilak.
“What do you want my blessing for anyway?”
“I was hoping…” Morde grunted briefly from the pain, but continued to maintain his composure. “You see, where I come from, we were destroyed by ourselves. Overpopulation and not enough resources. I tried to warn my kind. I warned them that we needed to cut our population in half. Violently if needed. They all mocked me. They all died.”
“So?” Arkadin growled.
“So I turned my attention to the rest of the universe. My kind were far more advanced than most. Overpopulation would end up killing this universe. Unless I stepped in. I believe that, if half of the life in this universe were to perish, the other half would flourish.”
Morde watched as the Thantophor wandered closer, only to hiss in pain as it wriggled one of the horns pinning Morde down.
“Half of all life? Define that. Half of all technologically advanced life? Half of all sapient life? Half of all sentient life? Half of all life in general?”
“Any of the above.”
The Thantophor blinked. “You’re fucking retarded.”
Morde shook his head. “I have done the maths. I have seen what happens when others don’t listen. I-”
“You’re retarded. Killing half of ANY sort of life would have dire consequences to life and the universe in general! Kill half of all sapient life and at best you have trillions dying from a lack of attention to technology, from power plants breaking down to chemicals being left unchecked to nuclear apocalypses! Kill half of all sentient life and you hold back evolution for billions of years! And killing half of all life in the universe? Might as well kill the whole fucking thing!”
The Thantophor reached for another horn, which he then buried deep into Morde’s thigh.
“Your kind were retards too. You were technologically advanced and you did nothing and your kind died. The Cassidilaks died because they were ignorant. Evolution and nature took care of them. And hearing what you have to say? I can totally see why they all fucking died!”
Morde growled. “I find that insulting.”
“I find it insulting that you come here, claiming to know more than I do, slaughtering beings under the flimsy pretence a retarded plan with dire consequences! But even worse, you came here thinking that, with or without my help, you would kill half of life YOURSELF!”
The Thantophor took a deep breath.
“I haven’t been genuinely angry at a mortal like this for a while. To the point that it’s not even worth trying to kill you.”
With another deep breath and a long, deep growl, Arkadin wandered back over to the cage. He inspected many of the individuals, then stepped back a little.
“Followers of that retard over there. How many of you are here willingly? How many of you are here because it was a better choice than letting yourselves die? How many of you are enslaved by that chaotic little cunt?”
None of the followers moved. Mainly out of fear.
“I am giving you the option to be honest and tell the truth. I already know the answers to those questions. I want to hear them from you.”
Hesitantly, several beings raised their hands. Arkadin drifted over to one of them.
“He… killed my family… At the flip of a coin…”
“They split us into four. Killed half.”
“Didn’t have a say. Just killed us and raped us and killed some more.”
Arkadin sighed. “Well, don’t worry. You’re free now.”
Suddenly, about a third of the beings in the cage started crying, gasping for air, clutching their necks. In a single, hideous snap, they all collapsed on the ground. The cage around them dissolved as Arkadin stepped to one side and turned his attention back to Morde.
“You… killed them…” Morde almost smiled. “You… somewhat believe…”
“No, I just killed the ones that joined you willingly. The others you enslaved, they will die when their time is right. You though…”
“Are you going to bless me with death?” Morde asked, his smile getting larger.
“You going to curse me with immortality?” Morde was still smiling.
The smile vanished. “Then what are you going to do to me?”
The Thantophor grew closer. With a sneer, he ripped the horns from Morde’s body, unpinning him from the ground. Hideous, black claws lifted Morde up into the air, carrying him away from the remains of the charred Banikan village. They flew over rivers and mountains, before settling down in front of what looked like a large, stone temple surrounded by impenetrable jungle.
A terrifying purple serpent appeared from within the tower.
“Arky! Hi! What’s that?”
Dark, smoky tentacles wrapped around Morde, freezing him in place. Arkadin dropped him in front of the snake-like being.
“A gift. Something for you to play with. To create new species in as painful a way as possible.”
Morde tried to move, but his limbs defied him.
“Thantophor! What IS this madness?”
Arkadin grinned evilly. “Oh, nothing. Just the complete opposite of everything you desired. You wanted death to life, no matter what. Here you are, a sacrifice to create new life and repopulate the universe.” The Thantophor turned to the massive serpent. “Enjoy your new toy, Yisini!”
Yisini beamed as she grabbed Morde and dragged him inside her temple. “Oh, trust me little brother, I will!”