Return of the Reaper

Thousands of years ago, the Reaper, Demon Lord and ruler of all Creation, was betrayed and his empire turned to dust. Now he has returned, and is looking for revenge on the one who betrayed him.


45. Chapter forty five

 The silence on the hall was only interrupted by the faint sound of breathing. The throne hall was quite large, but it looked minuscule by the amount of noblemen, servants and soldiers in it, both fae and nordheim, all of them eager to be in the place where the future of their races would be changed forever.


 The King took the knife from the ambassador. He then pricked his little finger and, reclining over a sturdy table, signed the heavy documents that contained the concessions both people had agreed on, and the pact they had come to in order to reach an uneasy peace and face together the terrific challenge of the demons. He let a servant apply a bandage to his wounded finger and he shook the ambassador’s hand. To see both of them was to understand the differences between both people. On one side, the King stood tall, fearsome and unbroken, a veritable giant among the smaller, slender fae.


 “There’s still much to be done for the peace to be certain and complete, Your Majesty.” Said the ambassador, ignoring as well he could the crushing strength of the sovereign “But I’d dare to say that we have had an excellent start.”


  “It is indeed so,” Answered the Doomed King, releasing his grasp to the ambassador’s disguised relief “Our hostages will part with our first units of light infantry, but won’t be delivered into your custody until yours arrive here.”


 “An excellent initiative, lord.” The ambassador stood up and started walking through the hall “I have taken the liberty of announcing the satisfactory ending of our negotiations to the Dream Lords, along with the main points of the accord. If everything goes well, those who have been selected to enjoy your hospitality should arrive here in ten days.”


 “It’ll doubtless be necessary for our forces to make joint exercises. It wouldn’t do us any good if, because of the mistrust between our people, an officer takes too many risks. If we’re not careful, our forces could very well end up fighting between them rather than the enemy.”


“It is a keen observation, Your Majesty. We have made what we can to avoid tension in the future, but the real work in that area will fall to those who command the troops. I’ll make sure to inform my superiors of your worries, in order for that point to be taken into special consideration.”


 A fae courier entered the hall and, discreetly, whispered a few words on the ambassador’s ears. His carefully maintained mask fell for a split second, revealing a rictus of deep surprise, though it was quickly suppressed “Your Majesty, there has been certain developments that I believe should be discussed in more reserve than we currently have.”


 “Of course, ambassador,” Answered the King, speaking to those reunited “This is a great day for both our races, and we have good reason to be jubilant! There are many issues yet to discuss, however, and I wouldn’t like for you to stay locked here, bumping one into the others. Go, then, and spread the good news. Let both nordheim and fae know that they are no longer enemies, and that their united forces shall once again crush the demons under their feet!”


 A thunderous, joyous roar could be heard not only from the nordheim, but also from the usually phlegmatic fae. They clapped and whistled for long minutes before going out to announce the sealing of the pact. Inside, only the King, the ambassador and the most trusted advisors of both remained.


 “What was it that you wanted to tell me?” Inquired the King.


 “It’s something quite important, though it shouldn’t affect our negotiations,” He answered with his usual smile “Most of the human kingdoms have received news of the demons’ advance, and the first refugees have arrived at our cities. We expect many thousands to join the others in the coming weeks.”


 The King took a few moments to consider his answer “Lars!” He finally bellowed. Immediately, a thin, almost brittle nordheim took a step forward, his face a severe mask that spoke only of duty “Make sure that the granaries deliver more than we will need, as much as they can spare without risking hunger. If we’re going to fight side by side with unknown allies, we must ensure they at least have their basic needs covered. Though I’m sure those savages will be little more than a nuisance, I’d rather have a grateful, cooperative nuisance that can be sent to die wherever it’s needed.”


 “It shall be as you say, Lord.” The steward immediately replied, leaving the room to fulfill the order.


 “There’s something I don’t quite understand, Your Majesty.”, interjected the ambassador “You said ‘We must ensure’ instead of ‘You must ensure’. Surely, you don’t mean…?”


 “Exactly,” Was the prompt answer “I can’t pretend to lead my people if I’m not willing to risk my life for them. Besides” His face twisted in a very unfriendly smile “I’ve been wishing to have a direct conversation with your Dream Lords for a very long time.”

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