Storytime: Hierarchy of the Conjurer

Vishal’s hands shook as he wiped them on the long blue robes he wore. A formerly fine garment this act of wiping was destroying its once prestigious look. Vishal’s arms were both stained to the elbows with blood. He was standing in his squat earthwork house and looking out the front window with darting nervous eyes. In the dimming light of dusk he could see an array of figures arranging themselves in his front garden. An angry murmur coming from the crowd.

Vishal was a farmer by trade but more importantly a Conjurer by birth. He had been granted training in the main art that defined his people, the creation of life from nothing. His people called themselves the Creators, after their life shaping abilities. Using only his focus of mind and prolonged meditation he was able to create beings from the aether force that ran hidden throughout reality.

Yet while proud of his people he had never been considered particularly talented. And so he had after careful training been sent to try his hand at agriculture rather than being sent to the war that was consuming so many others in his society. He had populated his farm by creating Trells. A human-like race made for the express purpose of serving shapers in whatever they demanded.

The creation had been the easy part for Vishal though. What had proved more difficult was the careful control required to keep his crafted army at disciplined work. For these servile creations necessarily required some independent thought to be useful farmers and were given an intelligence by their creators to make them useful. Day and night he drove them with harsh words that were backed by a ready whip and so saw himself as pushing away potential rebellion. In doing so Vishal saw in himself a confidence he didn’t know he had. He felt a leadership he didn’t know he possessed and soon came to relish his days of endless command.

More and more Trells were created and the lands around him soon yielded to the efforts of this small army to create a productive farm. He filled his farm with the four legged pink Ornks that he initially conjured into being and then had bred in ever greater numbers. The Trells guiding them in herds for grazing and processing them into the meat and leather they were so prized for. He needed only a few more years of production and he would grow rich. Vishal was no longer an academy cast away in his society but through his efforts was starting to become a respected figure.

Then one day he had come across a Trell sleeping under a tree while Ornks grazed around him. The careless Trell had abandoned his duty of guiding and watching the assigned herd in favour of sleeping in the shade. Vishal grabbed his whip and felt a small fury grow within him at this unconscious rebuke to his leadership. An example would have to be made he thought, as he roughly roused the creature from its slumber. The eyes snapped open and Vishal saw an expression so unexpected that he was taken aback. Not the look of fear that he was so used to but one of contempt and anger.

The Trell grabbed a sickle from its waist belt and swung it upwards towards Vishal’s torso. Vishal jumped backwards in a disorganised heap to avoid the deadly blow but still earned a painful but superficial cut across his stomach. Luckily the Trell’s mad blow had thrown it off balance and they both rose at roughly the same time. The Trell screamed and came towards him the sickle held overhead ready to come down in a deadly chop. But Vishal was not defenceless and his working knife had become like a second hand to him through constant use. Without a thought he had it in hand and met the enraged charge.

The adrenalin flowed through him and he saw in slow motion the events unfold. His blade entered the chest of the charging Trell, the sickle falling from its hands and its eyes growing wide at the impact. The notion of his kill entered his mind and he found his short lived fear turn to pure rage. His knife entered the Trell again and again until he lost count of the impacts his knife hand made against the slumped and unmoving body now below him. The corpse’s face now indelibly etched into his memory struck him as odd as he began to come to his senses.

The Trell was not one of his creations. Almost as shocking as the attack did a wave of realisation come over him. He’d heard the rumours. Rogue Trells who had run from their rightful masters infiltrating new groups of Trell and spreading their message. A message of rebellion and overturning the order of things. He had dismissed it as nonsense and besides had thought his own tight discipline would have made such a thing impossible on his farm.

He got up from his position on top of the Trell. The look of what had happened suddenly disgusting him in the horror of it. Then Vishal saw them. His Trells watched him in a loose circle around him about hundred steps distance in each direction. Except something about their movements told him they weren’t his Trells anymore. They talked among themselves in a voice hushed below that which he could hear. Slowly groups here and there took a step forward. Even the Ornks through some animal sense of the tension started to scatter away from him.

He saw a gap in the line and swallowed. Vishal knew that his next act would throw away whatever remained of his authority but looking at the angry faces of the Trells approaching he wasn’t certain he had enough authority to matter anymore. He thought that maybe if he had been standing proud and in the right frame of mind he might turn them around and put things to right. But he was covered in dust and blood standing above their dead comrade. He turned and ran for the gap in their circle. Perhaps through the shock at his sudden flight he was able to make it through. A thrown rock had hit him in the back of the head as he came past the Trells adding to his humiliation but not genuinely hurting him.

He made it back to his house at a run and slammed the door behind. This was how he’d come to be peering out the window at an assembling crowd. It was time to act. Vishal had created only the benign creations for farming in his agricultural life but he had been trained for more. Mustering as much focus as he could, he formed the aether that so flowed through the earth into a new emerging humanoid form. It was different to a Trell, a seven foot humanoid with eyes that burned like red fire against green scaly skin. Instead of hands its arms were claws with long serrated blades that almost reached the floor over which it proudly stood.

The conjuration made him feel better and imbued him with a feeling of power again. Vishal felt the Trells outside were committing the ultimate ingratitude towards their creator. It wasn’t just that they rebuked the very being that granted them the ultimate gift of life. They had upset the natural order of the world as he saw it. They had no compassion for the Ornks, never had he seen one shirk or complain when it came to eating that creation’s rich meat or wearing its fine leather. In this Vishal thought all was right as they were intellectually above the lowly Ornk and had every right to use the creation. Yet Vishal surely saw in himself, with his knowledge of life and its creation, a step just as monumental above them as that from Ornk to Trell.

The new creation red eye’s looked blankly towards him awaiting orders. Vishal felt drained from creating this new beast so quickly but there was nothing for it. He heard Trells approach the house but he felt that one of these battle monsters might not be enough to overcome the great number of assembled Trells. He put his every effort into creating another, to make his conjuration faster he pulled energy from his own life force until he had none left to give. He slumped against the wall, his own life nearly spent but in front of him stood the two new machines of death. With his last breathes he looked into their eyes, whispered “Kill them all” and passed to the sounds of Trells bursting through the doors.

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