The Consumed King

His name is gone. His history is gone. His home is gone. His body is gone. All that remains is his anger, his pain, and his crown.

In times long past, there was a grand and powerful kingdom, ruled by a fair and just king, wed by a beautiful and loving queen, and championed by masterless knights. The land was peaceful and rich, all was as it should be. Then one day, a demon came to court. It took the appearance of an emaciated beast, cruel and crooked antlers, face drawn taut over its skull and teeth. Its demand was such; if you have not taken one life by the last stroke of midnight, tolled by the bell of the capital, your flesh is forfeit. The court was a-panic. But before a single ill-wrought deed was done, the king announced his decree. The bell tower would be torn down, and the bell itself, melted for slag and destroyed utterly. No doom would befall his kingdom.

The news of the King’s decree was met with rapture. For a decade more, the land prospered as never before. But the demon knew, and considered its revenge.

One dark day, as the sun had set and the evening guard set out, the king’s knights approached the gates of the castle, and were admitted entry. As they were greeted by the evening guard, the knights drew their weapons, and butchered the men. They coursed through the castle slaying all they met, until they found the King himself in his room. He was dragged out into the courtyard, soaked in the blood of those slain, and a crown of the iron splinters of the bell thrust into his head. Then the knights dove upon his ragged body and gorged on him, even the organs and bones, til nothing was left, but the splinters.

When dawn came, nothing lived in the castle, not even rats. The kingdom was distraught at the loss. In one fell stroke, something had rid the kingdom of all its royalty and all its knights. Before the year was out, the kingdom was divided between its neighbours, and the land never prospered again.

The King remains, however. In his ruined and abandoned keep, left alone for fear of the King’s curse, he yet dwells on, tormented by the Demon he thwarted. His flesh is like ash, bound together with scraps of cloth. His bones are the twisted and pitted weapons of his slaughtered guards. His eyes are flames. Burning bright with hate. His only adornment is his false-crown. Sharp and crooked, bound in wire, jutting from his false-flesh. He broods on his throne, tormented by the Demon, tortured by his fate.

The Consumed King suffers no trespassers to his sorrow, and fights with fury. No blade harms his flesh-that-isn’t, and magic cannot harm him, for he is-not. He fights also with shame. He vomits forth clouds of dust to hide his pitiful form. He fills up throats with choking ashes to stop others speaking of his brokenness. He calls forth buffeting winds to carry him away and to deafen those that would hear his plaintive howls.    

All the while the Demon mocks him.

You can’t kill the King unless you kill the Demon first, and the Demon is very, very good at not being killed. The King however you can beat and beat and beat until he collapses weeping for a time. But only for a time.

The King’s Knights have also undergone transformation. They still bear their arms and armour, but their flesh beneath is red and raw and mangled. Blood oozes from them and coats and taints their armour. Their mouths are teeth and only teeth. They grind up meat with them, messily and savagely. They are not really human any more, they are merely pretending, and not very well at that. Hurt one enough, and it will give up its pretense and its armour will burst open and a wrecked beast of flesh and blood and flies and teeth will issue forth, without shape or logic. The knights of the Wasted Legion are not Knights. Not really.

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