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The Rise of Hell

“I say we fight!” Hell roared, storming to his feet and the Mayor stuttered to a stop mid word. Hundreds of stunned eyes turned on Hell from across the auditorium and for once he didn’t balk.

“How long have The Word of Daraen been destroying this world?” he continued, glaring down at the gathered councillors. “Since the Revelation? That was fifty years ago. You think they’ve changed since then? Since they nuked the sanjva world.”

There was a silence as Hell pause to draw breath. One of assembled councillors looked as if he was going to say something, but Hell stared him down.

“Look around you,” he declared, motioning towards the empty seats dotting the hall. Once the room had been a theatre, back when Yann hi Shanapi had been a town of twenty thousand. Now, the entire community were there and they didn’t even fill more than six rows. “This is the result of the last time The Word tried to impose their will on our lands, and we’re still dying because of it. Now they want to come and throw salt water into the wounds!”

He strode onto the stage, still the focus of the room and relishing it. “Well I say, no more. Their troops pillage and burn but they won’t find us so willing to bow our heads without a fight. Who’s with me?”

Hell thumped his tail onto the stage, the thud reverberating around the empty hall. There was silence for a moment.

“Well?” he barked.

“I’ll fight by you!” Vanpa announced, leaping from his seat and smacking his own tail on the floor.

The gesture was taken up by another of the young males, then another, and another, and pretty soon the room was reverberating with tail slaps and whoops of approval.

“This is madness!” one of the senior councillors hollered over the din. “They’ll kill us all.” But he was shouted down by the youths and Hell waved him aside, ignoring the horrified looks of the elders as the waves of enthusiasm washed over him.

The black Ewt on the stage, Hell, grinned showing rows of teeth; he felt the years of persecution melting away. All the taunts for his unnatural colour, jibes over being an orphan, the rocks thrown at the spacey kid, washed away by the cheers of the crowd.

They were his.

Now he just had to lead them to war.

The shell screamed over Hell’s head, blasting out a crater from the wall with an explosion of flame and pulverised concrete.

“Get down!” Vanpa roared over the din, tackling Hell and they hit the ground behind a pile of rubble, heavy machine gun fire from the tanks arcing over their heads.

“Oh Mother. Oh Father,” Hell gasped, as Vanpa scrabbled to his feet, firing over the barricade at the Word troops, yelling all the while.

They were losing. It was as simple as that.

Sure, their ambush of the Word troops had gone without a hitch. But that had been but a vanguard, and now hundreds of heavily armed soldiers were pouring through the city, killing indiscriminately.

Vanpa fell screaming in pain as bullet holes lanced themselves across his chest, landing like a rag doll next to Hell who whimpered, curing his tail tighter against himself and clutching at his rifle

“We’re getting torn to pieces!” Adilani screamed at him, from behind another pile of rubble. Rising and firing at the approaching Word, Hell just looked at her in total confusion.

“What are you orders, Sir?”

Hell didn’t make a sound, just curled tighter in on himself. He could feel his friends, his family being slaughtered around him, one of the down sides of belonging to an empathic species. Some had picked up on his terror and blind panic. Those who’d realised it was him were already broadcasting their disgust.

“Sir!” Adilani screamed, then a high explosive round ripped through the rubble and she exploded into a cloud of gore.

Hell just curled himself tighter, trying desperately to be small and unnoticeable. Not a threat. He remained there until the Word found him.

“Heathens of Yann hi Shanapi,” the largest of the cultists boomed from his perch atop a tank. He was ugly and almost certainly knew it. A vicious scowl sat on his face which was criss-crossed by scars. Few would have been brave enough to ask him what kind of past could have granted him such a visage, but it was unlikely to have been pretty.

“Gaze upon your pitiful attempts at resistance against our divine master, and despair,” he continued, gesturing at the few surviving combatants kneeling next to his tank. There weren’t many, the Word had been reluctant to accept surrender.

The speech continued, the words washing over the gathered crowd, mostly made up of the old and the young who didn’t, or couldn’t, fight. They stood in huddled groups, all trying to keep the children obscured from the dozens of armed Ewts lining the square, and the tank cannons that tracked their every move.

Hell kneeled shivering with the rest of the prisoners, only kept out of a protective curl because someone hit him with the butt of a rifle every time he moved.

“…but we will show mercy. Like our great lord. If your leader surrenders. He yet lives, no?”

One hundred eyes turned on Hell, who attempted to cower before receiving another crack over the head.

“Well,” the cultist pressed, glowering at the crowd.

“Him,” one of the elder councillors intoned, pointing at Hell who whimpered softly.

“Him?” the cultist spluttered, eyes bulging. “That freak barely deserves the title.” He leapt down from the tank and stalked along the row of prisoners until he towered over Hell.

“Well, heathen,” he spat. “Are you really in charge of these maggots?”

“I…” Hell began.

“Bah, not even worth my time.”

The cultist’s gun was out of his holster before anyone could blink and Hell had just enough time to gasp a frantic,


Before a bullet slammed into his cranium. Hell was dead before he hit the ground.



  1. Now how can a dead man rise?
    Hmm… so the alien being, in all his power, is being worshiped as a god and factions are going to war over it. All I want is a picture of the timeline. My guess is that this is a good amount of time after Ohetto Rahen, but the way you write, I could be completely mistaken.

    • Yeah, I should pull together a time line but I’ve got to find a way to do it in a non-spoilery way. For reference this is some five hundred years after Otetto after a destructive war in a period that would be loosely equivalent to the late 21st century.

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