The Demon Queen

By tercio

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AUTHOR'S NOTE: This one ended up very, very dark. I tried to end it with some hope, but that may not be enough for some readers. You may want to skip it. I will confess to being a little fond of this one though. I found it interesting to think about the plot of a stereotypical fantasy RPG series from the genuinely evil recurring villain's perspective (and hack that I am I kind of find the implied history of this world neat).

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> The Demon Queen snarled and lost herself to her rage

> the sheer audacity of these hairless apes!

> how dare they tread upon her demesne with their filthy fur shod feet?

> how dare they smash her beautiful death machines?!

> interrupt her eons long symphony of pain?!

> lesser beings should know their place!

> mere mundane things existed only for the pleasure of the Old Ones

> HOW DARE THEY ATTACK HER?!

> her power was in full bloom as her true form flew to confront the animal leading the others

> but even her untrammeled might could not overawe the champion

> time and time again her claws and ravenous dark magics were turned aside by his argent blade

> then, a single mistake, and the sword struck true

> for the first time in her long existence she knew fear

> less from the blade piercing her breast but more from the animal's eyes

> to her shock she saw within them the inconceivable

> a divine spark

> what blasphemy had the slaves of the Light wrought?!


---


> a thousand years to recover her essence from the Eternal Void

> a thousand years of unfamiliar and reviled helplessness

> when she had finally awoken she poured the full measure of her wrath upon those who had humiliated her

> the humans

> previously her machines had been works of art

> testaments to the pure creative joy she found in exploring the suffering of the amusing beasts created by the Light

> she no longer found them amusing

> now her machines were weapons

> they retained some of their old elegance, to be sure

> but they now boasted much more... direct designs

> the humans had died in droves at first and she had reveled in their fear

> yet, despite her best efforts, they had never lost hope

> was it a gift from the Light?

> some side effect of the tiny fragment of divinity each one possessed?

> or had they simply known what would happen?

> for once again she had faced a champion

> she recognized the sword

> his kit was different, bronze now instead of furs, but she would only realize the significance of that later

> once again she raged

> once again she was bested

> she screamed her hate and promised vengeance as all she was diffused into the Eternal Void


---


> a millennium is a long time to plan one's revenge, even for one such as her

> she had reflected on her failures and made adjustments

> the designs of her machines had been too artistic, too indulgently baroque

> so she imagined new and more efficient automations, many based on traits she had observed in the most resilient of the dumb beasts she had tormented

> her plan of attack had been too crude and aimless

> so she meditated upon the priority of things to destroy

> she could tell that the humans had not expected her innovations

> but she had not expected theirs

> entire legions of monkeys arrayed in iron panoply

> and legions they were, far more organized than before

> guided by some intelligence she didn't understand they maneuvered en masse to counter her every thrust

> not just upon the stone paths they had laid upon the earth but upon vessels floating on the water and carried aloft by mighty beasts in the air

> they had not even needed to shatter all of her armies

> while other legions paid in blood to blunt her assaults, a particularly strong force smashed through their lines to attack her directly

> a less uniform company, these monkeys were clearly special

> they fought even harder than the others and with a greater variety of tools

> to her horror a small number of them were actually able to call upon the flow of magic, however weakly

> and of course one of them held an all too familiar sword

> anger had not given her strength in that in that fight

> fear had


---


> she was surprised when she awoke this time

> an inchoate sense of strangeness had haunted her in the Eternal Void

> the reason was clear the instant she materialized

> the flow of magic was more turbulent than she had seen since the days of the War at the Beginning of Time

> this chaos was a poor imitation of that madness of course, but it was still surprising

> and useful

> it had permitted her to reform far, far more quickly than usual

> she had gloated, realizing her opportunity

> she thought she did much better that time

> some of the human wizards must have sensed something horrible was coming but she was able to hide herself from them for a time

> long enough to prepare much more thoroughly

> her initial attacks succeeded spectacularly

> for whatever reason the humans lacked the unity of purpose they'd possessed before

> admittedly, their arms were better: steel at worst, magical alloys at best

> and she came to dread the efforts of mortal wizards

> still, her machines swept through entire regions before resistance began to coalesce

> she made her greatest territorial gains ever

> she needed to, the infuriating monkeys had spread far and wide

> but she couldn't crush them quickly enough and soon her forces were trapped in countless stalemates

> sun bronzed monkeys riding great lizards struck like lighting from desert sands to attrite her forces before disappearing just as quickly

> nigh invisible j├Ągers stalked her war machines through trackless forests

> in the steppes great hordes of monkeys (on horses of all things!) overwhelmed any detachment below army strength and no army could find their ever moving camps

> monkeys encased in magically enhanced steel wielding great pikes and bows went toe to toe with her best troops in a mountainous region which made a mockery of maneuver

> she pushed her abilities to their limit to make good her losses and for a time she thought she was making progress

> she was taken completely by surprise when she felt a great disturbance in the flow of magic and a small force teleported directly into her workshop

> their variety reminded her of the last group she had fought personally, if their numbers were far fewer

> the one holding the sword this time had been little more than a juvenile

> the fight was short and sharp

> she never forgot the odd look in the boy's eyes as he struck her down

> she later learned it was sadness


---


> this time when she awoke she turned all her efforts to hiding herself

> she needed to learn more

> a solitary being since the War, she had never much concerned herself with the Others

> now she sought them out, but could not find them

> was she alone?

> in desperation she spied upon the humans

> now that she looked more closely she could recognize simple, material versions of the Others' sigils

> crude, bastardized versions of their names

> the humans remembered them in a way, but why?

> it took her a long time to understand the concept of religion

> she'd learned a great deal about humans along the way

> enough that when she understood the truth she cried

> she'd never done that before

> at the time it seemed a natural reaction to being left behind

> they had ascended without her

> they had left gifts and wisdom for A BUNCH OF FUCKING JUMPED UP MONKEYS AND LEFT HER BEHIND

> her rage was quiet and cold that time

> she thought long and hard on her revenge

> she wanted to hurt the others, but she'd have to settle for their heritors

> her newfound knowledge gave her an idea for an entirely new line of attack

> soon small cults were popping up all over the world

> the gifts she parsimoniously doled out to her deluded followers were more than offset by the power she gained from their worship and sacrifices

> it sickened her to lower herself to trafficking with lower beings

> but it was worth it on The Day

> they were expecting an army

> instead they found themselves fighting their own horribly mutated friends and neighbors

> their new weapons and war machines were turned against their own

> the cruel pleasure she felt at this irony was strange, devoid of her previous detached euphoria

> it felt almost... human

> that realization shocked her to her core

> shaken, she botched the follow up attacks

> her forces were defeated in detail as they haphazardly came through widely distributed portals

> in the end, it was mostly her own cultists who died

> she wasn't really surprised when she didn't face a swordsman this time

> they'd somehow figured out how to replicate the effect with a beam weapon on a massive airship

> the white light was kind of pretty


---


> she didn't awaken this time

> she was summoned

> at first she thought her cult plan had borne long term fruit

> it turned out it had been her greatest mistake

> she materialized in a perfectly spherical white chamber with no obvious exit

> she barely had a chance to wonder where she was before the mechanical argent blades sliced through her


> she tried to escape of course

> but the wards were better each time it happened

> she never had enough time anyway


> she could feel the increased human use of magic indirectly affecting the Eternal Void

> she knew she was being summoned more and more frequently

> they had to

> otherwise the mystic turmoil would let her choose where and how she materialized

> she had never really thought about it before but she realized something

> it hurt to die


> she started begging for them to stop

> she promised them anything

> everything

> it didn't matter

> honestly, she couldn't blame them


> she began to dream at some point

> nightmares mostly

> her existence was eternal cycles of somnolent fear punctuated by her own execution

> she didn't beg anymore

> she'd just cry

> was this what her victims had felt like?


> very rarely she'd dream of the Creator

> she remembered... kindness

> she finally understood why he'd been so disappointed in what she'd become


---


> she collapsed, exhausted, when she wasn't killed as quickly as normal this time

> tears of relief flowed freely as she lay limp on the floor of the room she'd died in so many times

> if she'd been in a more rational state of mind she might have wondered when she reached the point where the mere thought of a human hand gently lifting her face didn't fill her with disgust

"I'm sorry."

> she was struck by how much his eyes reminded her of the boy with the sword from so long ago

"The continued existence of this, this torture chamber is one of our civilization's blackest sins."

> She couldn't remember the last time she'd spoken to another as an equal. Maybe to the Trickster back in the Garden?

< "I'm the Demon Queen. I've killed so many..."

"Vengeance belongs to the Lord."

< "You're not afraid of my power?"

"With modern magic you stopped being a real threat a long time ago. Honestly, a lot of it is improved versions of your own techniques."

< "... How can you be so kind to your race's greatest enemy? How could you forgive me?"

"If you think you've done harm, then do good."

> he gave her a sad smile

"In the end, you're the one who will need to forgive yourself."

> He was a fool. That absurd sentiment would have gotten him killed in the Ages she remembered. How weak and silly.

> it reminded her of the Creator

> she fell hopelessly in love with him on the spot

> as he picked her up and carried her to something he called "psychological counseling" she promised herself that she'd be better

> for him


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