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Evil King Wendrick was deeply dissatisfied.

"Evil King Roderick to the North has built a tower of unholy evil, which bestows him vast power. And now he encroaches on land that has been in my evil family for generations!!" King Wendrick glossed over the formality of Roderick being his second cousin, making the land that of their same evil family. "Where is my tower of unholy evil?!" he demanded. The question seemed directed to the aether, but immediately thereafter he turned and shot his burning gaze at his toadying, wizened Vizier, who was never more than a few steps from the throne when the King sat upon it.

"My liege," the Vizier responded with the slightest bow, "this can be done. It will take some time, and require some dedication of resources. And, naturally, the ruthless application of violence to the innocent. But you can have constructed a tower of unholy evil which will utterly eclipse Roderick's."

"Ruthless violence?" Wendrick smirked. "Excellent. I shall look forward to it. My army is at your disposal -- let this vile deed be done!!"

----

One year later, standing in the dark chamber in the heart of his tower of unholy evil, the last brick having been laid on the highest parapet that very morning, the evil King Wendrick was even more deeply dissatisfied.

"We've spent much time and treasure constructing this tower of unholy evil," he growled to the Vizier, "and yet it still hasn't yielded the promised benefits. I have had my evil servants follow your every instruction. Slaving chained peasants to death at the end of the lash, and mixing the blood of the tortured and oppressed into the mortar of every brick. Having blasphemous and obscene rituals in the subterranean levels, night after night until they seemed countless. Invoking the name of every unholy spirit. And yet, no great demonic power at all has emanated from the place!! All the while, Evil King Roderick to the North continues to bask in his power. Where is my power?!"

"My liege," the Vizier began, "there is just one element remaining to infuse to turn this tower into a source of most abject evil power, able to dwarf those commanded by Roderick."

"One more element?!" the evil king sputtered. He drew ominously close to the Vizier, almost nose to nose, rage filling his face. "What new 'element' is this?! You told me we already had everything we needed!! We've murdered scores of people here. We've had orgies of the flesh on this very spot. We have committed every infamous and egregious act which can be conceived. What other 'element' could their possibly be?!"

"Just one thing -- a stunning act of betrayal."

"Betrayal? What betray--" suddenly, the King looked down, seeing the dagger plunged deep between his ribs even before he felt the stab. "Betray...." his words tapered off with his last gasp.

The King collapsed in a heap. After just a few moments, his corpse seemed to shudder. And then a deep vibration passed through the walls of the tower, as if every cursed soul bound up in its stones had silently howled together. As if a sightless glow of pitiful horror were emanating throughout its floors and walls, like a chill passes into bones.

Black-armored guardsmen rushed up the stairs and into the room. The sight of the Vizier standing, bloodied blade in hand, over the corpse of their freshly fallen King, left them unsure of what to do.

This was no matter to the Vizier, as he slowly turned towards them. The same red glow suffused both blade and eyes. "I rule, now. Do you understand?" His voice was terrifying in its calm. His power, undeniable.

"Y-yes my Lord," the guardsmen replied in near unison.

"Good. Summon all the captains of my army. Soon we move against Roderick. And then.... all realms."



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Tender Lumplings Everywhere: The 2018 Halloween Horrorquest

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