A Foul Mood
Posted By: Dirty Commie<email@example.com>
Date: 3 April 2003, 12:57 PM
It was hot, and the Dispraiser was in a foul mood.
I studied the robed and decorated figure standing with his back to me. He was always in a foul mood these days. I found it so odd that this was the Grand Dispraiser of the Hooded Order, the defacto ruler of this steamy planet, my superior. Perhaps it was because he was not of the khala ruling class. Unlike me, he had risen from the lower, fiercer warrior class.
And now he was in a foul mood.
I stood, freeing myself from the uncomfortable chair of the Dispraiser's office.
"Perhaps our troops are merely underestimating the infidel resistance. Our early victories have made them overconfident."
The Dispraiser turned on me, menace in his eyes.
I am such an idiot.
He was so unpredictable on these days, maybe I should just go home early. Oh, wait, he was talking.
"Overconfident!? The Forces of God aren't overconfident. They do not underestimate the pathetic infidel soldiers." I bowed my head in feigned shame. The response seemed to satisfy him, and he turned once again to the window. I sighed and also turned to look out on the land below us. The monsoon jungles were practically melting under the equatorial heat. Rivers of sweat ran down my face and temples.
I paced the room, nearly slipping on the hundreds-thousands-of papers littering the marble floor. Reports, analyses, theories, more reports, they all infuriated the Dispraiser equally. On a whim, I snatched a sheet, crumpled underneath my sandal-clad foot. A battle report. My experienced eye was repulsed by the obsequious, subservient language of the report. The substance of this paper, if there was any, was identical to a hundred others on the floor. They fell into two categories. Another glorious victory for the divine forces of God! A minor defeat for our forces, only made possible by the overwhelming numbers of the inferior infidel soldiers. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. It was as if some omnipotent power was screening all of the important information from my superior and I.
Perhaps there was a spy in the palace. Perhaps the entire staff should be cleansed…No…the heat was getting to me. The Dispraiser noticed my ire, said "Those reports are useless, my messengers are worse than useless." Something he understood! I allowed a small smirk to creep into my normally stony visage.
"Maybe you should flay all of them."
He laughed, long and cruel. I alluded to an incident, several months ago, when a guard had mistaken the Grand Dispraiser for an aide, entering unbidden into this office. The poor fool had tried to bar him from his own office. The Dispraiser flayed and hung the guard above the palace entrance, blood still stained the last steps.
I decided to try and make the Eyes of God see reason again. Suggestive was the way to go. I started slowly.
"M'Lord, perhaps we need to pause our advance, consolidate our holdings, allow our weary soldiers to rest. The war is proceeding at breakneck speed, and the question of whether or not we can win has been answered." He looked at me now. "Now is the time to minimize casualties. The will of the Gods will be done, but we must carry out the will of the Gods, but we need not dash our forces against the Human fortress worlds in the process!" There! I thought, now it's up to him.
"Yes!" He cried. I didn't like the look in his eye. "The will of the Gods will be done! We need more troops for the final, glorious battle! Qurath!" A diminutive aide entered the room, ignoring my distasteful glare. "Put out another draft, the cleansing is almost complete!" The aide bowed deeply and scurried out.
I was astounded. The fool had not heeded a single word I spoke! This was no Grand Dispraiser, it was a lowly acolyte spouting the zealous cries of the lowly ground troops! I was disgusted.
"We must lay siege to those worlds! They cannot hope to hold out against such a protracted action."
But it was hot, and the Dispraiser was in a foul mood.
"No! The killing blow will be swift and merciless, like the mighty Karuq's hammer! The Gods demand!"
"I don't recall the Gods setting a date." I retorted.
"I set the date! I am a vessel of divine power!"
"And divine ignorance?"
Even the vessels of divine power have their limits, apparently. He screamed my damnation.
Two muscle-bound Shazak entered the room (the humans called their little brothers elite, what would they call these hulks?). One stood next to me, the other bowed to the volatile creature across from me. The Dispraiser held out is hand. In it was placed a long, curved, wicked dagger from the guard's belt. He pointed at me.
"You are guilty of heresy, the sentence is death."
The other guard forced me into the classic execution pose. No last words, no hope of escape.
He placed the knife at my throat. At least I'll leave a large stain.
The knife withdrew for a second, and my heart leapt. Mercy?
No. It was hot, and the Dispraiser was in a foul mood.