The High Bishop massaged his temples, hoping to the Gods above to relieve him of the headache he was enduring of late. He was dealing with the aftermath of an uproar within the Church and the Theocracy’s leadership as a whole.
They had sent no less than a dozen separate groups of Heroes to slay the ruler of the Dark Continent, the Dark Lord Haradrim. They had already gone through the entire class of promising Hero candidates from the theocracy’s orphanage. The High Bishop was genuinely stuck with what to do.
To make matters worse, he had just gotten free from an inquisitorial investigation for suspicion of providing the Dark Lord with soldiers. Resolving himself to continue to prove his loyalty, he dove back into looking over a batch of documents from one of the Paladin orders. Before he could even begin to make any progress, a knock came on his office door.
“M’lord,” a servant drew his attention, looking worried.
“What is it, Beastling,” the High Bishop shot back. He was still seething; he had all his pure-blooded human servants confiscated and, in their place, been given a lowly beastling for a servant.
“A thousand apologies, m’lord, but a messenger has arrived from the Dark Continent. They carry the Dark Lord’s seal,” the diminutive beastling explained while repeatedly bowing its head.
“A messenger? Anyone of note?” the High Bishop asked.
“I believe they self-identified as Yuu Ironforge,” the beastling answered again, bowing his head.
“Ah, they have sent the heir to the Wrath seat. Send him in,” the High Bishop said, putting his pen down on his desk with a loud tap. A few minutes later, there was a new knock at the door.
“Enter!” the High Bishop’s voice boomed.
The doors were opened, and a girl who looked no older than the High Bishop’s own daughter walked in. The Girl stopped a few paces from his desk, held her right hand to her chest, and bowed. He was surprised he was always under the impression Yuu Ironforge was a male.
“A knight’s bow?” the High Bishop muttered under his breath, curious as to why a woman would use such a greeting.
“Greetings, my Lord, I come bearing a message for the Theocracy from the current ruling Dark Lord, His most august majesty Dark Lord Haradrim,” she began after rising from her bow.
“What is the message, and shouldn’t it be addressed to her Ladyship the Pope?” he asked.
“Well, it isn’t the pope sending assassins. The Dark Lord felt it best to deliver the message to the man sending them,” she answered with a cheery grin.
“ASSASSINS?!!” the High Bishop near screeched as he rose and knocked a stack of documents off his desk. Never had he had his honour so insulted?
“I have not sent assassins as you so ignorantly put it. I have been sending Heroes to do the Gods’ work,” he scoffed. This little girl had the same kind of attitude his daughter had.
“Oh, I got something for this one,” she said, holding up a finger to try and pause the conversation. Working through her bag, she shuffled through a few pages of paper.
“Ah, here it is,” she said, holding out a small square. “Ahem,” she cleared her throat first. The High Bishop, however, was frozen by the audacity of what he was witnessing.
“Perhaps this is an issue with languages between our continents. It seems you believe a trained special warrior sent to eliminate the head of state is not an assassin and end quote,” she said, putting the paper back down with a big grin.
“SUCH INSOLENCE!!” the High Bishop screamed, slamming his desk with his fists knocking what few documents remained neatly ordered over the edge.
“What has happened to the Heroes, we have been sending?” he asked with a near-feral snarl.
“One Sec,” again she was sifting through the pages. “Ah, ok, of the thirteen assassins sent over the past two years. Four have been summarily executed,” she paused as the High Bishop’s face dropped from rage to utter despair.
“Executed?” he repeated, not wanting to believe the children he had raised himself were dead.
“Yes, says here, they killed guards or civilians during their infiltration. So they were charged and sentenced for the murders,” Yuu explained, miming a hanging.
“Next four were remanded to hard labour. Their attempts were stopped by either the royal guard or the Dark Lord himself. So there was no loss of life. They will serve the remainder of their natural lives working one of my Father’s mines,” she explained, pausing to let the High Bishop absorb this information.
“A-and the remaining fo- wait, earlier you said thirteen?” the High Bishop began before changing track.
“Yes, it seems one of your Assa– ahem, sorry, I mean ‘Heroes’ acquired the help of a citizen from our land,” she explained.
“The remainder have been taken in as wards of the Dark Lord himself.” she gave a conspiratorial wink while shielding her mouth as if sharing some juicy gossip. “Haradrim is a bit of a softy between you and me.”
The High Bishop could only slump in his chair. His children, the very kids he considered his own, were either dead or, in such a tortuous hell, death would be welcome. He could only shudder at what Haradrim must be doing to the ones he didn’t imprison.
“Is that all?” he meekly asked, not looking up at Yuu.
“Yes, sir, though this one will be a direct letter from Haradrim himself. It is rather scathing if I do say so,” she said, holding up a letter with the broken wax seal. The High Bishop didn’t even have the energy to rage at this break in etiquette. He just gave a limp gesture with his right hand. She handed him the letter and retreated a few steps.
Dearest High Bishop Smeltier,
I hope you are doing well. I myself am doing excellently. We have a new exceptional labour pool added to our mining industry, and I have recently adopted many new children. For this gift, I must thank you from the depths of this new father’s heart.
I will say, though, the manner with which your gifts of labourers approached me left much to be desired. Many assumed the role to be that of murder. However, I shan’t fault you for this. Such is the way with the youthful. Not heeding the orders of their elders and such.
I will add, though, if you feel the need to persist in sending me new labourers, I will feel obliged to return the favour. However, I assure you of this. One will certainly suffice.
I will finish this letter with an observation from what my new children have told me about you. That if you have ever had a bright idea, it quickly died alone and hungry.
Dark Lord Haradrim.
Republished with permission from the author, Random3x. Image created using Stable Diffusion.