Balthon Lord of Dark Metals
Balthon glowered into the murk of his dark throne room and scowled at nothing in particular. Arbuckle his high priest of pain stood stoically at the base of the steps that led up to his throne. The Dark God's royal seat was carved in the image of a bird of prey from some black metal alloy, it's great black wings spread wide.
Next to Arbuckle stood an equally impassive Arbitrage high priest of subterfuge and deceit. The two priest wore coal black tailored robes that spilled to the floor in a spray of opalescent synthetic cloth. Each priest leaned on a long metal pacifier that was fitted with magics along its six-foot length to humble the stoutest heart. In the other hand each clergyman bore the Book of Black Psalms written by Balthon's most beloved (and deceased) poet Dr. Zayoose.
Stark, functional, metal furniture appointed the throne room in perfect symmetrical fashion. A dozen Apprassain terror troops from the meandering steppes stood at perfect attention next to the three foot thick metal door. The grim acolytes kept to the shadows and sprayed the place with holy mist to keep the heat and humidity at an uncomfortable level for all but Balthon.
Balthon slammed the arm of his chair and a sonorous clang of metal on metal resonated throughout the chamber, "Where is he! I am Balthon! Lord of Dark Metals! The undisputed second! I shall not be kept waiting!"
A nearby acolyte shivered and cried out, "Undisputed!"
Balthon turned in absolute rage, "What!!!!"
A crazed Balthon jammed a finger at the terror stricken worshipper and sent a bolt of black energy the caused the poor man to explode in a shower of acolyte bits.
"I am the UNDISPUTED second of the new Gods and will bear no lies to the contrary!"
A stoic Arbuckle sighed, "Most high, poor Avric did say undisputed, not disputed."
An evil tempered Balthon spun on Arbuckle and hissed, "You dare dispute my disputation?"
The high priest sighed again, "No my lord, I merely wished to point out that we priests and Acolytes can not go about seeing to thy rightful place in the universe if you continue to spray us about the throne room in bloody bits."
Balthon glowered for a second and then calmed upon reflection of Arbuckle's observation, "You speak the truth councilor. I am not an unreasonable God. Let it be known that I apologize to yon splintered acolyte."
"I'm sure he feels much better," Arbuckle remarked under his breath.
Klaxons sounded and yellow-flashing lights began to turn near the great metal doors to the inner chambers. The doors to the room groaned belying their massive weight and opened to reveal Balthon's champion.
Braxxus, as bold as hate, stomped into the room in a singular fury. Balthon smiled at the sight of the man. Here was a black knight worthy of his title. He was armored from head to toe in the indestructible but feather light alloy balthium. Energy weapons containing Balthon's own dark magics were holstered at six places on the armor. A great battle-ax was strapped across Braxxus' back and framed the war helm wore which was fashioned to look like a dragon's head.
Braxxus removed his helm, bent to one knee and bowed before his God, "Your servant Triumphant God of War!"
If one looked very carefully they would have noticed a bead of sweat on Braxxus' forehead, "The blasted taxi driver took Cuttering expressway instead of the BQE my lord. I killed him in your honor."
This seemed to appease the Dark Lord of Metals and he settled back into his chair, "Oh, very well then, attend to my words."
Balthon motioned and a chair and small side table appeared behind Braxxus. The black knight placed his helm on the table and settled back into the seat.
"As you know I am very proud of the perfectly ordered society I have built here on the Machine. There is no want, no hunger, no disease. The great Machine covers this entire world and provides for us all, even myself. Arbuckle!"
"Yes my lord?"
"Read of the machine from the Book of Psalms"
"Yes my lord." Arbuckle opened his book with a flourish and in a beautiful, melodic bass voice began to read.
All tower black now,
Blacker by the hour towers.
All the towers risen
All the towers rise
All the towers gleaming
A busy a little hive.
Are you a busy bee in the service of the lord?
A happy little bee who is never ever bored.
For the bee that serves the hive, rises with a proudly pride.
To raise the mighty towers, to save your lovely hide.
Raise the towers now,
And build and build and build.
You must serve the symmetry
Or be killed and killed and killed.
And now the work is done,
Wasn't building fun?
Our world is metal, dark as a kettle
And all cities joined as one.
All tower black now,
Blacker by the hour towers.
Balthon wiped a tear from his eye and heaved a sigh of contentment, "Wasn't that beautiful?"
An equally moved Braxxus nodded in agreement too choked up for words.
"Every day at dusk I go to my balcony that overlooks the Machine and every day I shed a tear of joy for the perfectly ordered world I have built."
"Yours is a sensitive soul my lord God," Braxxus observed.
Balthon nodded in agreement, "You're very observant Braxxus. It was last night that I realized, however that something is missing."
"But lord all is perfection!?"
Balthon smiled, "Seemingly so, but I had the opportunity to visit Asshkaan's home world last year and it occurred to me that there is a blank spot in my existence."
Braxxus frowned, "But it is rumored, my dear lord, that on that other place is naught, but nature and unmanaged weather and animals that roam about freely. There is no order!"
Balthon, "Precisely! The perfect place for a summer cottage."
A confused Braxxus replied, "Excuse me lord?"
Balthon, "I have no summer cottage. The Machine covers my entire world and although it is perfect in it's construction it leaves no room for a place to summer in. I wish to invade the nine kingdoms so that I may have a place to take my vacation."
Braxxus still found these observations confusing, "I will tear asunder all who oppose thee my lord for whatever reason, but thine desires are confusing to me."
Balthon sighed at the density of his worshipper's thought process, "Balance Braxxus, one must have balance. To summer in a place such as this puts everything in perspective. When I return to the Machine it's perfection will be reminded to me tenfold(!) with each vacation."
A crevasse of a smile cracked Braxxus' face, "Ahhh, now I understand my lord. What would you have me do?"
"First you must prove your worth to my by completing three labors."
"Only three my lord?"
Balthon began to drum on the steel arm of his chair with metal fingers, "I'm in hurry to claim this place, and Asshkaan will not be sitting still. I suspect he may have an idea as to what I'm up to."
"Assuming I am successful in completing thine labors lord, how shall I defeat a God?"
"Leave that up to me. Complete the labors and I shall guide you to victory after that."
Braxxus bowed his head, "Yes my lord."
Balthon leaned forward, "Your first task is to descend into the sewers of the machine and destroy the 'Keepers of the Lock' and retrieve said lock of hair."
Arbuckle the priest was taken aback and interjected, "My lord these are some of your most fanatical worshippers. I question whether there are more capable warriors on the planet."
Balthon slamed the arm of his chair, "They have stolen that which is mine!"
Arbuckle, "It is but a lock of hair."
"It is my nose hair and I want it back and burned!"
Arbuckle frowned in disgust, "Yes my lord. Now I see."
Balthon turned back to Braxxus, "Go dark knight. Set yourself to this task and bring me that which has been stolen back to me."
Braxxus stood and snapped to attention, "Yes my lord!"
Balthon smiled as his champion spun on a heel and exited the place. Balthon did not hear his champion say under his breath, "I must remember to bring me some rubber gloves."