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Otherworld Travelogue

A 1-post collection

Challenge #01202-C107: Self-fulfilling Prophet

From a human to a pre-industrial sophont (fantasy realm? With a bit of tweaking, might work for Shayde):

My people fought an apocalyptic war that only ended when the impossibly ancient still-warm remnants of a star's death were used to destroy whole cities in a more final way than simply sacking and burning them - or even salting all their fields as well - to stop things like this. Then, we spent generations trying to stop ourselves from continuing it. Turn away now.

(If Shayde, perhaps changing "spent generations trying to stop ourselves" to "when I left, we were still trying to finally stop doing it entirely" or something?) -- RecklessPrudence

Captured by the Uruk. Bound to their horses with no way out, including the mage's demon, who was like that anyway.

Liah the Paladin flinched under a blow. His armour was on a different horse, and could not protect him.

"See?" said the demon. "If I'd'a been free, I'd have stopped this."

"Enough of your lies, demon," Liah snarled reflexively.

"No talk," growled one of the Uruk.

The demon took offense. "Or what? Yer goin' tae hit us again? Ye ken well that does'nae work on me. I just use yer strength against ye."

This Uruk was sharper than most. "You no talk. Or Grak hurt puny one."

"Don't even think about it," the demon menaced. "You've no idea of the hell you'll unleash from me if ye dare."

This was hilarious to the Uruk. "Spin tale, blackskin. Make Grak laugh."

"My kind are well used tae war. We spent centuries fightin' each other. One war, we fought it over a dot[1]. And all the time, we had th' smartest of us come up wi' new ways tae make destruction. Bombs the likes of which would terrify ye. And one... the worst one... we used the still-warm remains of dead stars tae not only lay waste tae cities and poison the ground, but also poison the people as survived it. Fer a thousand generations and a thousand more, the place where it once was could kill a man should he dare tae walk that ground."

The Uruk around the demon had decided to guard other prisoners. All but Grak, who was held captive by her glowing stare.

"That was almost fifty years ago," singsonged the demon. "Ere I came here, two great nations were makin' more, and more, and more o' those bombs. Enough tae poison all the lands and set their castles on fire, and turn all th' people in'tae shadows on the ground. All ready tae use 'em on each other and their allies and their enemies alike. A war th' likes of which nobody could win because there'd be nowt alive tae declare victory. That's where I'm from, pal. And that's where yer goin' if you dare tae threaten my friends again."

There was an extended silence filled only with the clop of horses' hooves and the gentle patter of Grak's urine running to the ground from his moist saddle. Grak did not say a word. Just spurred his horse a little faster so he could get away from the demon.

Carbuncle, otherwise known as 'the puny one' broke the silence. "That was impressive. I've never seen anyone turned aside with words, before."

All her ferocity died like a fire hit with a flood. "Aye. I keep tellin' ye, kid. There's more'n one way tae get people to do as ye wish." A briefly red glare at Liah. "Sommat I'm still tryin' tae teach others."

"The creature boasts," said Liah. "If it wanted to use such powers, why has it not stopped me chastising you, Carbuncle?"

Carbuncle turned to the demon. "Yes. Why?"

"Because yer allegedly a force fer good. And even heroes have a lot tae learn. And should we survive this," she added, "I could use my powers tae teach you some very important lessons ye will'nae forget. If you really want me to."

It was the first time Carbuncle had seen his lord grow both pale and thoughtful.

"I... will... endeavour to apply some lessons you have already dictated," said Liah. "Upon our survival. You have my solemn word."

Now the demon grinned, showing her sharp, white teeth. "Awright then. 'Ere. Mysterio. Permission tae break me bonds and have at the enemy?"

Carbuncle knew that Mysterio's real name was Tragyk. And why the mage flinched at every time the demon used it. It was a joke. At least to the demon.

"Permission so granted," grated Mysterio.

The demon known as Shayde ran her clows through the rope, which pulled apart like raw fleece.

The Uruk would now have cause to really regret taking them prisoner. Just as the demon foretold.

[1] Humanity really did fight for three hundred years over the placement of a dot above a letter.

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