For thousands of years, the dark lord has ruled over the realm. Once every century the gods grant power to a chosen hero to challenge the dark lord and win our freedom.
At least, that’s how it’s used to be.
You see, the key there is “thousands of years” and “once every century”. That’s a good 20, 30 heroes who have challenged the dark lord and snuffed it. People were getting more than a little tired of the whole “generations of oppression by an immortal and unfathomable evil” thing. So about 40 years ago, a town official named Arin (better known to me as “dad”) had a bright idea. It ran sortof as follows: So, this dark lord. Pretty powerful, right? On the other hand… there are a lot of us. And we can build siege weapons.
Bloody warfare, much suffering, etc. Eventually confirmed that the fine print on “immortal” in “immortal and unfathomable evil” includes the phrase “As long as you don’t pack him in half a ton of black powder and set fire to it in a confined space”.
So, things are pretty good these days. It’s no utopia, but we’ve got a fairish system of government going, people are generally feeling less oppressed and life is looking up.
So you can imagine how surprised I was when a messenger of the gods arrived to tell me I was the chosen hero, to be gifted with the ability to inspire the hearts of men, near invincibility and awesome destructive power. And a cool sword.
I did try to tell him that there’d been a horrible cock-up and the dark lord was dead, but he was having none of it. Insisted he couldn’t possibly leave without granting me power. Oh well, if you’re going to twist my arm over it go on then.
So, here I am. Divine powers of leadership and warfare, and no dark lord to challenge me.
(This story is loosely stolen from an idea of Charles Stross’s)