Chapter 116: The Change

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They had committed manifold atrocities, but it was the fruits of their assaults, the orchestrations of their chaotic intentions, that spelled their downfall. They had forged a world of horrors, but out of that would arise the heroes, the soldiers, the warriors that would slay the Eight. They had portrayed themselves as gods, and a most cruel pantheon at that; now, the weak mortals they demanded supplication of were rising against them, spilling their blood, and showing for all to see the lies that these demons wore as masks.

They claimed immortality, but quickly we showed them the truth of the matter, with sword and claw.

***

Thirteen Years Ago

***

They knew that someone new was here.

They had tried to escape, and the rough stone pit walls they were in bore the deep gouges of their claws. They had tried to climb, to shake free of the net of chains that surrounded them and held them down. They had tried to climb, over and over, so they could spread their wings, let forth a great jet of flame, and slay the people above.

But the chains had always bound them. The chains, forged by the ever-cursed Sidhe, the finest smiths and magicians, had been made of the stone heart of a mountain, of the unyielding faith of martyrs, of the molten helmets of those soldiers who had given their lives in duty battling them, imprisoning them. They rattled every time they tried to move, tried to stretch their wings, tried to climb. They rattled, an incessant sound that spoke to them, reminded them, of their manifold attempts to escape, and their constant failure.

The men in armor used to feed them, used to pull the chains back and pin them to the ground before dropping a few carcasses in front of them. Now, the men just dropped the carcasses and let them lick the bloody shards of meat off the rock. Those men wanted to stay as far away as possible.

Yet, to the ones formerly known as Rhaedrashah, they could smell the stench of man.

It was a youngling, standing at the entryway to their pit, weapon in hand. Of course, as they saw, this human hatchling wasn't wearing that armor, that steel beetle-carapace defense. Its feet were bare, its hair dirty and messy, but the slingshot in one hand and the gleaming knife in the other meant it was dangerous.

It had come to attack.

"Foolish man-child," one of them rumbled. Another unfurled their wings, and yet another clawed at the ground, eager to taste the man-child's blood. "Do you come to die?"

Its hands shook, and it held the knife in a deathgrip, and its dark eyes were wide as they loomed over him. "N...no." The man-child's voice was shaking with fear, as it should. The hatchling was in the presence of a king, or a bastard... no, no, don't remember, they mustn't remember, it hurts to remember.

They shook their head, shaking the thoughts out as well. "You've come to our place, come to our home, invaded with a tiny weapon. Surely," one of them said, "you come to die."

"No." The little one's voice still shook, but now there was something beneath it, something that almost sounded like the youngling was going to get over its terror. "I'm here to slay you."

"Slay us?" One of them laughed, and they all felt the rumble in their chest. "You? Slay us? Surely you jest! Or else your mind is unfit for this world, and we would be sparing you future agony by devouring you now."

"My mind's unfit?" The hatchling frowned. "There's only one of you, but you're not talking like that."

"Don't... don't... do not talk any more!" With that, one of them tried to lunge for the child, but another was interested and wanted to observe the youngling more. So, instead of them pouncing on the man-child, they kind of jumped, kind of slid on the rock. The youngling let out a yelp and ran to a outcropping of rock, trying to hide behind it.

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