The Silver Tower Chronicles Adventures in other worlds, other times, and other realities

9Oct/13Off

Enzi’s Irregulars #0067

Devis Lane had found Enzi's Irregulars. Devis had come to chat with the man who had once been one of the greatest generals of his nation. Enzi Cala, a member of one of the great families of Feergrus, although his dishonor had humbled the family slightly. Now Devis needed the talents of his team to save Feergrus from becoming embroiled in a costly war with the lizardfolk from the Marsh of Vashim. He looked over the motley band of monstrosities that the Feergrus man had assembled.

Aldebaran Celeno was the largest of the mercenary monsters. He was a minotaur. To the eyes of Devis Lane, he was all muscle and rage. Aldebaran had lost his left horn at some point since the shapechanger had last seen him. The brute was good for killing things, but little else. Surprisingly, Devis thought much the same way of the team's smallest member. She was the vodyanoi known as Kava Roukami. Her right hand had been lopped off along with some of the forearm. She wore a prosthetic on the mangled arm. It was a brutal hatchet arm now. She held a regular hatchet in her other hand.

The third was the dwarf known as Ritter Earthbreaker. A walking tank in his armor, he wielded a heavy warhammer and a thick shield. His skills with engineering were useful, but he also did not matter much to Devis. The fourth was the gorgon named Eurysa Medenos Thulea. She was the most dangerous one in the group other than Enzi. It was her sharp mind that worried Devis. She knew Enzi the best and was the most likely to spoil the plans of the cunning shapechanger.

The final member was the most important one as far as Devis was concerned. It was the lycanthrope named Mayitso Hastine. Devis was surprised to see the nasty jagged scar across the great wolf's face. The lycanthrope had lost an eye. Devis hoped the damage would not cause issues with the plan to save Feergrus. That would not stop Devis Lane. He was one of the last of his kind. He would find a way to succeed. As a Rakshasa, he had the power to shift into various humanoid shapes as he pleased. His natural shape was of a feline humanoid. He also had the ability to read the surface thoughts of those around him.

Devis had disguised himself as a Nuvroci soldier. He blended in well with the growing military encampment. Devis approached Enzi that evening as most people settled down to sleep. Some of the guards moved off to take their shift on watch. It was a quiet time, but Devis knew there was great danger and risk in the plan he had devised. He hoped that Enzi would work willingly with him, but he assumed the Feergrus man would want nothing to do with a plan that would only benefit Feergrus and its standing in the world.

“Good evening, Enzi,” the disguised Devis said calmly.

“Good evening,” Enzi asked quizzically, not recognizing the apparently Nuvroci soldier.

“We need to talk in private, I fear it is important but I fear prying eyes and ears more,” Devis said.

“Why would you trust me with this? General Cassius Tessium is an honorable man.”

“Yes, but I fear I can only trust you with this. Anyone else who learns of this puts their life in danger,” Devis said truthfully.

“Would that not place my life in danger as well?” Enzi asked.

“Yes,” Devis admitted, “But I feel you are the only one who can handle the task at hand.”

“Then I shall listen,” Enzi stated, “But do not waste my time. There are important things yet to do. I will let Ritter know I will be right back.”

Devis nodded, such a warning to friends would change nothing. Enzi could tell the man was telling the truth. The Feergrus man had sharp senses when it came to that. That had been part of the problem with his service to the theocracy. The pair moved off to a secluded corner of the base camp. The way it had been expanded had been in a ramshackle manner. It led to several such blind corners until they were cleared out. It was not perfect, but it would have to do. In the hidden corner Devis changed into the form of a Feergrus man. It was the form that most knew as Devis Lane.

“You!” Enzi said.

“Yes,” Devis replied, “It seems this war has brought a great evil to the borders of Feergrus.”

“You speak of the lizardfolk?” Enzi asked.

“You know of how terrible the situation has become?”

“I suspected after what we have learned here.”

“We need you to help save Feergrus,” Devis stated firmly, “Or more specifically we need the aid of the lycanthropes. There may not be a large number of them left in this world, but their strengths make them worth several lizardfolk in a fight.”

“You would have them die rather than your own people?” Enzi asked, “You have the soldiers to easily turn back this invasion.”

“Yes, but that would weaken our position in the world.”

“That matters little to me now,” Enzi replied coldly, “There is a far greater danger to the world than a small horde of lizardfolk. Though oddly enough the two are related.”

“I see you speak the truth,” Devis said, “Tell me more of this. Perhaps I can help. We may not get along, but we both wish for an end to this war as well as the sound defeat of the Tarvoni aiding the goblinoids.”

“There is a reason the lizardfolk are on the warpath,” Enzi said, “The Tarvoni stole a precious relic from them and placed the blame on the Feergrus. This relic was a dragon egg. They hatched and nurtured the beast and will soon unleash it. This beast will make the war terrible indeed.”

“It is in the Goblinoid Lands?” Devis asked.

Enzi nodded, “Since it was a Tarvoni plot, they will unleash it on Agon first.”

“Their army will end such a beast. Eventually,” Devis replied.

“Yes, but at an astronomical cost. The backlash against the goblinoids will be worse. There are many who do not want this war.”

“Yes, the hatred from such a devastating attack will make the pot boil over,” Devis said, “The goblinoids will be obliterated. The northern countries will be drastically weakened. This outcome greatly favors Feergrus.”

Enzi's voice chilled again,“But not the world. You know I think bigger than just our one little country.”

“We think bigger as well,” Devis replied.

“Bigger as in ruling all the world!” Enzi growled.

“Yes, Lord Glanar Dale is the most capable creature alive. If he wasn't I would have taken over leadership myself,” Devis said, “Eventually all of Doulairen will be under our control.”

“If the people of Feergrus knew what you were really like, they would rise up and destroy you.”

“Yes, I find that humans rarely have the intellect to add one and one together, let alone see the plans in the minds of their betters,” Devis said.

“Well then. You can deal with your own problem,” Enzi said, “The dragon is a more important foe. Even the rest of the Irregulars know of it. They won't be stopped.”

“I don't plan to stop them,” Devis said, “It is possible that the Agonish army will fail to stop the goblinoids and the dragon. The chance is remote, but a monster or two to slow the dragon won't hurt. Especially since at least one of your beasts will be busy with the lizardfolk situation.”

“You don't understand, we are not helping you at all. We need all the manpower we have to stop the dragon.”

“Exactly. So I don't want you to have all of your manpower,” Devis said.

Enzi furious tone grew, “You have all the manpower you need to stop the lizardfolk. Leave us alone. We will not help you. That is the end of the story.”

“I am afraid you are correct, Enzi Cala,” Devis Lane replied with a smirk, “I suspected you would be resistant. I did not expect the news you brought. For that I thank you. However, there is a matter that we need to settle. You violated several laws of Feergrus. The punishment decided for those crimes was death. Your execution was delayed as long as you were useful.”

Enzi merely gurgled. Devis' hand was on the soldier's chest. Blood had splattered across the wall behind Enzi. The aging Feergrus man slumped to the ground.

“Sorry to kill you in the middle of my speech,” Devis replied softly, “But I expect once you realized what my plan was, you might have resisted or rose the alarm.”

“What... What are you?” Enzi gasped weakly.

“I am a monster, like your precious Irregulars. Karrum, Glanar, and I are the last three. The fourth set sail across the ocean before we knew how foolish a notion that was. We have been here the whole of the Sixth Age. We barely survived the ending of the Fifth Age.”

“Sixth Age?”

“Yes,” Devis replied quietly, “The Sixth Age of Doulairen. This world is far older than most know. I have revealed a few of its minor secrets to you now. Think of this knowledge as a gift for the work you have done. Now you will serve me in death, as is the way of all natives of Feergrus. Only your service will not be as one of the undead.”

Enzi sputtered trying to talk but Devis shushed him. Thanks to the magic of the Ravaleians, Devis was not worried about his spells catching the eye of the Magehunter. With a few spells, Devis completely eliminated the body of the once great general. With naught but dust left of the once great man, Devis sighed. The Rakshasa shifted his shape to look exactly like Enzi, then put on clothes that matched what the general normally wore. This would be the greatest role Devis had yet played.

He had to fool the intellect of the gorgon. He had to fool the nose of the lycanthrope. These were the challenges that Devis looked forward to. He worried less about the other monsters. It would be good practice for the Rakshasa's skills. He knew a lot about Enzi Cala. He had read the surface thoughts of the man for many years, and had done so again before killing him. He believed he could pull off this one great con. If he failed, he merely had to slay them all and move on to his next plan.

If there was one thing Devis always had, it was a backup plan. His machinations sometimes failed. He had honed his skills in deception to a sharp edge. His plans had the backing of over four thousand years of experience. However, circumstances could change at a moment's notice. Things did not always go as expected. He had assassinated kings, created conflict between nations, and helped to create a religion. The very shape of the world as it now sat was because of his actions.

He had ended the war between Casea and Agon. He had started the hatred between elves and the Halz. That little subterfuge had not taken much work. Acting as the messenger for each group, he had relayed false information. Both sides preferred isolation. Giving them a reason to trust outsiders had solidified both races as marginal players. As an allied force, they could have been a thorn in the side of the Rakshasa's plans. Now it was too late. Both races were dying.

Yet such things were in the distant past. Now Devis Lane had a new future to forge. He could foresee a greatly weakened Agon needing the aid of Feergrus in its darkest hour. Even if things did not go that direction, Devis already had plans in the works to have influence over the next ruler of the kingdom. He always tried to have multiple plans in motion. For the moment, he concentrated on his current plan. He would need to become someone else.

The powerful and ancient monster took a deep breath and his new disguise spoke its first words, “I am Enzi Cala.”

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