August/Sept 2013 Lite Challenge: The Glorious Dominion of the Immortal Storm King
"Legend tells that long ago, great monsters terrorized the lands, until one came who could turn the forces of nature to his will: whip up winds and rains, cause the earth to shake and fire to fall from the sky. His name has been lost to the ages, but he was the Chosen of Taranis the thunderer. It is said that he freed the lands from the terrors. But up against Magleoth the Undying, a horrific undead intelligence and a being of disease and decay, he met his greatest foe. He destroyed the creature, but at great cost. He had contracted an incurable illness that cause his very body to decay and dissolve. The greatest healers in creation could only slow the progress of the disease. But this god among men devised a means to preserve himself: He invented a machine, powered by lightning, that could all but halt the rotting sickness that ravaged him. He took it to the top of Thunderhead Peak, even to the former castle of the enemy who laid this illness on him, and he built himself into it. The castle was rebuilt and he named it Tempestwatch Citadel."
"That's the Hall of the Storm King! But..."
"And there he remains, to this very day, through countless generations. The Hero of ages past became our immortal ruler. He is our ever watchful protector."
It is true that the "god-man" invented this machine, and it is true that he inhabits it to this day, staving off his devastating infection. However, the Immortal Storm King is not all he appears. Over the millenia, his body has been almost completely destroyed by the ravages of time and disease. He has become synonymous with the machine that preserves the semblance of life he has left. It preserves his intelligence, which has drifted through the centuries from the keen and noble instrument it once was into deepening paranoia and madness.
A handful of Barons rule in his name, but the Storm King is now little more than a figurehead, given to deranged ramblings and violent mood swings. The heads of state manipulate him and cajole him as suits their purpose, attempting to gain more influence and power for themselves. Much of what he is told is lies, and on some level he knows this. It is a fact that feeds his insanity. He is left in place, as his machine has been tied into the defenses of the citadel, and he is the source of many of the conveniences of life here. Indeed, he still possesses the power to strike dead any who would seek to destroy him. So the Barons lie, and keep him in the dark on the true proceedings in "his dominion" leaving them free to rule as they please.
In truth, despite the delusions held by the Storm King, the empire has crumbled. The Barons here hold the southern lands in a loose federation, but all lands to the North and the West have slipped beyond their control. Nevertheless, the myth of the glorious empire is spread throughout the lands as a form of propaganda, as is the myth that The Storm King remains their Omnipotent Benefactor.
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