so here’s the fourth chapter of the prologue chapters…. only 1ish more to go before i get back to D.I. and then get into the actual main story for this instead of just the set up…
blah, i’ll edit and clean this some other time…. probably…..
I believed that one should learn as much as they can about themselves, and in this new world and life where I knew next to nothing about myself that belief was even stronger. For two months I devoted myself to learning about my race, demon lord, with the help of the Order of Demios and their seemingly unlimited resources and influence I learned quite a lot.
Demon lords and thus I were rather unique beings, they were born from the world Gaia itself and meant to fulfill the purpose of regulating and stabilizing the worlds mana just by being alive. Each Demon Lord was born with unique abilities of the highest order that only that individual held and abilities that were unique to the demon lord race, though these were geared more towards each individual Demon Lords survival than anything else. There were 72 demon lords born at the beginning of the world and those 72 beings were meant to last until the worlds end, thus Demon Lords lived without the need for nutrients and food, sleep, production and excretion of waste, or even the compulsion for reproduction. We could eat, sleep, and though it was rare and unlikely even produce offspring but none of those things were necessary to demon lords and we didn’t gain anything as a race for doing them. Food could be eaten for the enjoyment of taste, but it would be broken down into mana and released back into the ambient mana of the world instead of providing us sustenance. Sleep was a way to pass time in comfort, but it did nothing for us besides provide a vague feeling of being rested that could be achieved by means of just laying down for the same period of time. If a Demon Lord did manage to produce a child it wouldn’t ever be another demon lord, just a demonkin though perhaps a powerful one.
Demon lords also didn’t age remaining in the appearance they were at birth, and we would live eternally unless something killed us. We were essentially stuck in a fixed state unless some outside force acted on us, and even then our bodies would restore themselves to their initial state overtime so nothing could truly make a lasting change to our state besides death. I imagined that this fact was quite the curse to Demon Lords like Ba’al who from the few portraits I’ve seen looks like a young boy of maybe five, I was truly glad that I didn’t end up with the body of a child or an old man.
Because of all these things demon lords were soon viewed by the demonkin as natural and destined rulers of their kind, thus the demonkin soon honored and followed the demon lords as near divine beings that preserved the world and held great power. Over countless generations it became tradition and culture that bordered on instinctual for many of the demonkin to follow and obey my kind, and as such it isolated us from the other races who did not hold this belief. This was something that the demon lords allowed at the time, and this allowance only served to strengthen the dependence and ties that demonkin held towards my kind. Even after most of the demon lords were sealed and the other races united against them, the demonkin still upheld and in many ways strengthened their beliefs and culture towards the demon lords. Now demonkin viewed demon lords as basically flawless near all-powerful and endlessly wise rulers born from the goddess Gaia who would ensure that their race would surpass all others, a view that the Order of Demios helped to cultivate and spread and one that was far from the actual truth.
The culture of the demonkin was so skewed towards being ruled by my kind that their territory on Gaia, the Demon Lands and parts of the Fringe, were broken up into districts meant to be ruled by a specific demon lord. These districts were governed by demonkin nobility until their respective demon lord awoke, and in the few cases were that demon lord didn’t wish to rule the district would be broken up and added to the surrounding districts. It was a system that was created by the demon lords Demios, Ba’al, and Irati under the insistence of the demonkin people, but some demon lords did not follow it since under this system they would hold the responsibilities of a ruler and thus have their freedoms restricted. This meant that once I had finished learning under the Order of Demios I could either decide to rule the 33rd district as I please or choose a different path where that district would be broken up and distributed to its surrounding districts, a decision that I was fairly sure I had made ever since I began learning about this world.
What little I learned about Gaia from my study of demon lords did not paint it in a friendly tones for my kind. The world had only one super continent and a scattering of islands of varying sizes, and it has six main races brought about after the birth of the world by five gods besides the goddess Gaia who created the world and thus my race. The main races in the order they apparently appeared in the world according to the information Demios left for the other demon lords were: the angelium, the elves, the demonkin, the dwarves, the beastkin, and the humans. The other five races followed a pantheon of six gods, only two of which the demonkin recognized, and had developed the view that the demonkin were a race of heretics that embraced forsaken monsters and their view of demon lords was as unholy abominations that refuted the gods and craved conquest and death. With this view all five other races united against the demonkin and demon lords and began a war that allowed them put almost two thirds of the entire content of Gaia under their control, the area now known as the Allied Lands as well as parts of the Fringe. Only with the 8th district ruled by Irati serving as both sword and shield as well as the sheer might of the demonkin people coupled with the legends and power of a few demon lords allowed the Demon Lands to hold as much territory as they do now. In a world like that once my race was discovered it would lead to trouble or even persecution even if I only wished to lead a quiet and peaceful life separate from everything else, even if I was hiding my race and masquerading as a fallen angelium all it would take would be one mistake and that life would come crashing down.
Personally I figured that I would rather rule a district than be out on my own, at least then I would have more protection and would have greater access to any resources I might need or want. I also believed that I would enjoy living as a ruler, though I also knew that it would take work. I had absolutely no experience ruling over a land and a people, but I had some ideas and I had read quite a bit that gave me some cursory knowledge that I figured would help. If I was going to do this then there was a lot I needed to study and learn first, and luckily I had a very devoted group that was more than willing to help me in any way I might need.
The Order of Demios had already proven that they had immense influence and resources, and until a decade passed and I had to leave their care they were at my disposal. I would use that, use them, to help me gain the skills I would need and if I could even begin to estabilish myself and a dedicated faction supporting my rule. It would take time, I knew that, but I had the advantage of not needing to waste time to sleep or even eat so time was something I could spare plenty of.
I knew what I was and what that meant, now I would devote myself to improving myself, my standing, and my future. I would be one of if not the greatest ruler of all the demon lords, that was my goal. In fact I would give becoming one of the greatest rulers in all of Gaia a try, After all I had immortality and what better way was there to keep myself entertained then playing with the lives of others?
“Are you sure you want to try this again brother? I think we both know how this will end…” Mesoria said with clear concern.
This would be the sixth time I asked her to have a mock battle with me in the last month, and I was fairly sure it would also be the sixth time I lost to her. It was fairly clear Mesoria was a very combat oriented demon lord and considering my rather limited combat skills and abilities coupled with the fact those few abilities seemed to have little to no effect on her I was at the clear disadvantage. That wasn’t to say I had no chance of winning whatsoever, but my chances weren’t all that high.
I willed for Oathbreaker and as always it faithfully appeared in my right hand, the weapon was a wicked looking serrated scythe with multiple edges pointing out of its main scythe blade like some sort of demented leaf and a second slightly curved blade pointing out straight from the butt of the weapon. the blades of the scythe were mostly black with purple stylized intertwining line like runes engraved into them, the staff portion was made from a strong grey metallic material that felt somehow right in my hands, and the chain with its bladed end moving around almost as if it were conscious was pitch black. Oathbreaker was a weapon that looked utterly imposing and had a majestic wickedness about it that made it seem much more deadly than it was considering its primarily a defensive weapon, though the few times I have attacked with it I did find that Oathbreaker was a decent if unwieldly offensive weapon as well.
I’ll have to end this right from the start if I’m going to have any chance at winning… Restrain Mesoria, then force her to concede by either slowly crushing or strangling her… If she’s able to get away from me even once then I’m done and the match will be decided…
I gave Mesoria a nod as three long and thick black chains slithered into being around me, one of which had a bladed end much like the chain attached to Oathbreaker.
“Yeah I’m sure, we’ll begin on the overseer’s count like always…”
I barely spared any attention to the robed goblin at the entrance of this training room, he was only there to signal when to begin or when one side was unable to continue and thus forced to concede by default. My focus was entirely on Mesoria and her massive aura around me, so much so that I almost missed when he got to ten and the officially match started.
I didn’t hesitate and sent my chains forward to bind Mesoria even as a massive wave of sand began forming behind her. My combat style revolved around restraining, harassing, crushing, and at times even severing targets with my chains and since my aura was a sphere spanning around three to four yards in each direction with me at the center I had decent range with my chains. That was good since even with training I wasn’t much of a melee fighter, I could hold my own and I was stronger and faster than someone with my build normally should be but not by much.
Mesoria didn’t even bother to dodge and merely ignored the chains binding her as her tidal wave of sand began to move forward engulfing everything in its path including her, when I lost sight of her I felt the chains holding her break.
Shit… I even reinforced them with plenty of mana… She shouldn’t have been able to break those no matter how strong she is… No, wait… Maybe she wasn’t the one to break them, but had her sand do it for her… Shit, I’ve lost to her again…
I jumped and flapped my wings maninging to avoid the wave of sand and to awkwardly hover in the air. I hadn’t mastered flight yet, but after a year of trial and error attempts at it I had at least managed to be able to get into the air and actually stay there. At this point I could fly in the direction I wanted without crashing, but any complicated or quick maneuvering was beyond me.
Looking down at Mesoria who had called out her own weapon, an immense golden spear that could shift and arrange itself rapidly to shave away at anything it’s in contact with, willed for two more chains to appear. I wrapped them around Oathbreaker and let go of the scythe while sending them forward, carefully manipulating the chains I used them to wield and attack with Oathbreaker while I moved higher into the air. I know it wouldn’t make much of a difference since Mesoria’s aura was so massive it extended past the white stone walls of this room, hell it covered almost a third of the Order’s massive hidden sanctuary here, so flying a bit higher up would only buy me a few extra moments before her sand inevitably reached me if that. Even so I did what I could to earn myself those precious few moments every time in the hope that one match I’ll actually manage to win in that time.
As Oathbreaker was swung around in arks by chains stronger than iron Mesoria moved around them as if she were dancing, it was both impressive and depressing to see her do that as blades of sand formed and cut apart the chains wielding my weapon.
I let myself fall to avoid the giant fist that would have closed around me that I only just noticed behind me out of the corner of my eye, right before hitting the ground I gave a strong flap of my wings softening the landing to almost nothing. Once I touched the ground I rolled away will calling Oathbreaker to my hand again just barely avoiding the descending fist of sand.
“You know brother, you really are improving. I’d say you’re even at about the level of some of the average nether lord now…” I heard the sharp voice compliment me fondly from behind as the Mesoria I had been watching so closely collapsed into a pile of sand.
A sand replica? When did she? …Ah, while the wave of sand blocked her from view… I’ve been dancing in the palm of her hand since then, huh? Damn…
I didn’t hesitate as I called for ten chains to appear from behind me and flailed out with them in a blind last bid of desperation. There was no semblance of the fine control I had working on and honing for the past year, only a wild mess of iron hard chains flailed loosely in the direction I heard the voice from. As I turned I was graced with the sight of Mesoria wearing her light coating of sand armor standing over served and broken chains, there were also countless spikes of sand pointed directly at me.
“I concede.” I said simply.
As the sand all started to collapse back into the ground Mesoria walked over to me with a pleasant smile.
“You’re getting better, you lasted almost a minute that time brother!” The happiness and pride coloring her voice showed just how much of a feat she felt that was.
“I’m still not able to match you though…”
“Bah, you shouldn’t compare yourself against someone like me brother, we handle things in far different ways…”
That was true, Mesoria was incredibly combat oriented in her abilities with abilities that let her create and manipulate sand and silt within her aura as well as the ability to wear away at anything she was in physical contact with if she wanted to. Then her spear had the ability to wear away at the endurance and defenses of anything it came in contact with, an effect that could be made permanent using another ability of hers that she wouldn’t talk about and I couldn’t find any information on. In short Mesoria was an absolute nightmare for her enemies in a battle, and I was sure she must be within the top 20 strongest demon lords alive easily. That said she was prone to letting her emotions get the better of her and Mesoria was utterly terrified of complicated political matters or economics, matters where I personally excelled.
Quite frankly I doubted I would ever be able to win against Mesoria in straight combat, I just couldn’t match up with her natural aptitude, abilities, or instincts in combat. And according to Mesoria herself and some of the things I’ve read or learned in this last year, she wasn’t even one of the ten strongest demon lords alive. That I would probably never surpass her in combat and that others of my kind were even stronger was just another reason I was sure that the path I had chosen to take was the right one for me. After all if you can’t fight them and have any chance of winning, it’s only smart that you don’t.
“Yeah, you’re probably right about that sister. Still it is a little depressing when I can’t even manage to last a minute against you in a fight, no matter our differences in abilities or aptitudes.” I said with a shrug.
As I glanced around the room, I noticed that there was something missing. More specifically, someone was now missing.
“By the way Mesoria, what happened to the acolyte that was overseeing the match?”
“Oh the goblin? He couldn’t avoid my wave of sand so when it crashed into him it wore him done to nothing, he didn’t even have enough blood to dye the sand red…” She said dismissively as her spear disappeared from her hand in a shower of golden sand.
…How many of the Order’s members has she killed already? At this point it’s a wonder the Order of Demios still approach her let alone oversee her combat practices… I guess that just goes to further show their devotion to us demon lords, but still…
The Order of Demios was so heavily devoted to serving demon lords that it was actually fairly disturbing. It was the point that I couldn’t even test if my eyes effected them at all since they would always answer any question and fulfil any request if it was within their power to do so, even if it meant killing themselves for no reason. I had to ask for them to bring in outsiders just to test my Eyes of Fascination ability, and Mesmer’s Gift couldn’t get break them of their fanatic devotion without utterly crushing their mind with torture first. They also apparently had so much influence in demonkin districts without demon lord rulers that they could do practically anything without having to concern themselves with any consequences or repercussions. It made my life, and I assume the lives of the other demon lords who experienced this decade long period with the Order, vastly easier so I was mostly fine with things being that way, but it was still a unnerving when I thought too deeply about how fully these people devoted themselves to their Order and serving the demon lords.
“You really should try harder to not kill the acolytes, sister…” I said lightly.
Mesoria simply tilted her head in confusion.
“Why should I go out of my way for them Ash’Raga? They are the ones that decided to serve us all on their own, we have no obligation to consider them any further than that if we bother to consider them at all…” The confusion was clear in her voice as Mesoria spoke.
…I see she still doesn’t care about or treat the demonkin as anything other than worthless slaves and nesciences… If she could get over that mindset of hers she Mesoria would probably be a decent leader, well at least a decent military leader… Maybe a general or something, I doubt she’ll ever be too good at matters of actual statecraft though…
“You should find your own reason for that sister, and I’ve told you please call me Ash instead of my full name…” I said flatly.
I had purposely shortened my name as Ash’Raga had the meaning of deception binder when written out in its original runes, and whenever it was read regardless of what form of writing it was written in most types of demonkin would pick up on that meaning intuitively. Needless to say deception binder was not the thing I wanted myself and my name being associated with, even if it was a rather fitting moniker given my gift at deception and binding others in and with said deception.
“Then tell me what your reason is brother, it may be the key to finding my own.”
…My reason for caring for and considering others, huh? Well that would have to be…
I looked at Mesoria, she seemed genuinely curious as to whatever reason I had to care or show consideration for those who weren’t fellow demon lords. As I willed Oathbreaker away, I considered how to best describe that reason myself.
“Well, I personally feel that every person has a role and purpose that they can fulfil no matter who or what they are. Some can be tools to be used, some can be toys to entertain, some are threats to be disposed of, some can be subordinates to support yourself with, and a rare few can become something more to be cherished. That’s what I think of others outside of my kind, Mesoria.”
She just nodded at me as I began to walk away.
“Then what about those two that you are keeping now, what are they to you, brother?”
I paused for a moment to consider the elf and human slaves that were brought in with the test subjects for my ability practice, the elven boy and the human girl who were made into slaves as mere children.
“Those two are tools of course…” I said simply before walking out of the room.
As I entered my room the two children who were reading inside quickly stood up and bowed respectfully before looking up.
“Welcome back Lord Ash.” The boy said in a song like tones I had noticed was the elves form of speaking politely.
“Welcome back Lord Ash.” The girl spoke in a humble voice.
“Yes, I’m back. Carla, Aulo how has the assignment I gave you both this morning come along, have you each come up with your answers yet?” I asked with measured care and expectation coloring my voice.
The competitive almost hostile glance that they sent to each other before either spoke volumes about the two’s relationship, a relationship I spent months carefully cultivating between them. Ever since I had brought these two under my care I had gone out of my way to earn their loyalty and affection without using any of my abilities on them, at the same time I’ve also been pitting the two against each other for my approval and attention. I was careful not to take it too far and push the two into hating each other beyond what I’d want, they disliked but needed each other as each was the other’s rival as well as partner. It was a careful balance that I was still working on establishing in both of them, but as their reaction showed the base foundation I had cultivated in the two is strong and had taken root already.
Aulo was an eight year old high elf who’s dignified and androgynous features shown through even at his early age, he was wearing the green tunic shirt and pants combinations I had made for him when he requested clothing more like the things he used to wear before being made a slave. His messy dark blond hair, dark green eyes, elongated ears, and a bright smile added to his charm and assured me that he would grow into a very attractive man. Aulo as an elf would begin to age incredibly slowly when he reached his early twenties and as a high elf he belonged to the type of elf that held the highest class so I expected him to be very useful in the future.
Carla was a seven year old human girl with dark brown hair, hazel eyes, a button nose featuring a sprinkling of cute freckles that extended to her cheeks, and soft innocent features that gave her a cute and innocent charm. She wore one of the purple dresses that I had made for her when she asked to wear something besides the rough and dirty slave clothes she came here in. She would clearly grow into being a naturally beautiful woman, and I planned to have her become a unique type of demonkin that could only be made by a demon lord from a female of one of the other five races by going through an alteration ritual. Carla was going to be my first witch, and once she was she would be immortal, unaging, and eternally bound to me and me alone.
Both were likely highly expensive slaves given their respective appearances alone, though that made sense as one of the conditions I gave to the Order of Demios was that the people they bring to me as subjects be physically attractive regardless of age. It was in part due to my own preference of be around those I find attractive rather than not, but it also served a purpose as those who were attractive could be used in far more ways than others. These two would become examples of that fact, but that was an issue for the future.
Ah, another flaw of mine… As an immortal demon lord patience shouldn’t be much of an issue for me, I have plenty of time to do things after all, but still I’m impatient… Well, where’s the fun in waiting anyway? Impatience can be a virtue as well, it just needs to be handled correctly. Ten years, just ten years’ time and I won’t ever need to wait for the future like this again if I don’t want to…
Aulo was the one who spoke up first, his voice with its song like tone ripping me from my thoughts.
“Lord Ash, I finished all the questions you assigned to me and I’ve almost finished reading my book for the week.” The boy spoke with pride and eagerness.
“I also finished all my questions too, lord Ash! Plus I finished mine before Aulo finished his!” Carla was quick to speak up her soft voice colored with something complex when she said Aulo’s name.
I smiled at the two but made sure my eyes only meet with Carla’s, it was always important to subtly encourage their competitiveness with little things like that. Even something as small as who I spoke to first or who got a an extra look would fuel these two’s jealousy and cravings from attention for days, even the smallest things would push them to be that little bit better than the other to earn that smallest bit more of my attention for themselves. It was hard to imagine now looking at the way they acted but I still remember where these two sought out comfort from each other while being terrified of the demon lord who had them purchased for him, it only took a few days and some carfully calculated kindnesses to utterly change that.
“I see so you both finished your questions, even when they were each written in a different language. I’m very proud of both of you right now, Carla, Aulo you both did a very good job…” I said with kindness and pride.
The smiles that appeared on the twos faces were the sort of pure smiles of pride and satisfaction only children can make, and in this moment of happiness were they both revealed in their successes I gave them their psyche the next little nudge in the direction I wanted them to go. I reached out and patted Aulo’s head, ruffling his soft hair as I spoke in that melodic voice of mine.
“Aulo why don’t you start your report first again, please tell me the question you translated and the answer you came up with for that question as always.”
As I spoke I saw Aulo’s face brighten up like I had told him the best news of the day, which I suppose in a way I had, and at the same time I saw the happiness drain from Carla. I could easily imagine what was going through her head: But I finished first, so why does Aulo get to go before me?! Or maybe it would be something along the lines of: Aulo got to go first last time though, this isn’t fair! She would be dropped from her prior happiness into a seething confusion and anger which would only fuel her hatred and competitiveness with Aulo, and tomorrow she would try even harder than she did today so that tomorrow the one who got to have their head patted by me would be her.
…It’s shockingly simple how easy it is to mold children into what you want, all you need is to gain their trust and affection and the rest will come with time and exposure with them… Of course I’m a bit too impatient to just wait for time like that, so I’ll guide them a bit with nudges and specialized teachings… All to forge better tools…
“Yes! The first question was: You have spent the entire day picking apples to sell the next, but the next day when you go to sell apples no one will buy them yet another child across from you selling oranges is able to sell all of their fruit that day. You know that your apples are of the same quality as the other child’s oranges, that the people of your village like apples and oranges equally, and that the apples and oranges were selling for the same price, but only the other child managed to sell anything. What do you do?” Aulo spoke carefully making glances at my face as he read from the paper he took out from his pocket and unfolded.
I nodded, the translation was word for word what I had written this morning.
“Your translation of orkish is correct, but how did you answer it?” My voice was encouraging and expectant at the same time.
Aulo’s smile at that moment was full of confidence as he looked up from his paper.
“That one was easy Lord Ash, I give someone an apple for free the next day if they’ll say that the oranges were rotten. I’ll only need one person to say that and complain to the other child while others are nearby and no one will want to buy them anymore, then they’ll buy my apples instead. Was I right, Lord Ash?”
I just smiled and patted the boy’s head while telling him that was one of the right answers to that question and how clever he was for coming up with it, all the while I watched the girl’s expression turn more sour and resentful as gazed at the boy from where she stood beside him.
These two will turn out quite nicely at this rate… Quite nicely indeed… I can only hope that Carla’s answer was just as ruthless as Aulo’s, but knowing her she probably killed the other child in her answer… oh well, killing is also an acceptable solution in that sort of situation if it’s done right… I think I’ll be spoiling Carla tomorrow, she’ll have earned it I’m sure…
As I gave Aulo’s hair one last ruffle I stepped back and asked him to read me his next question.
“Someone says that they saw you do something bad, and that they will tell on you. They show you that they have actual proof that you really did that bad thing, then they begin walking away. What do you do?” The voice of the blushing elf boy revealed just how happy he was at this moment.
It was a shame that tomorrow all that happiness he was feeling now would prove to make his resentment and frustration towards his rival even greater, but in the end that was just how this particular game was played. One day I would explain it to the both of them, but not yet it was still too soon now. There was still too much lingering past and sentiments in the way of these two fully embracing my plans for them, but maybe in another year they would be ready.
But before that I think I’ve waited long enough for my opening moves as a ruler… It’s time to start establishing my hold over the 33rd district, and I think I know just how to start…
so yeah, that’s the chapter…. You should have a decent idea of Ash’Raga/Ash’s character now, and kudos to those of you able to figure out where this is heading just from this one chapter….
anyway remember to comment, like, follow, favorite, subscribe, and share…. oh and if your reading this on RRL rate and review….
and that’s about it, i’ll start working on prologue 5 tomorrow, but i probably wont finish and post it by then cuz, you know, homework…..