Challenge #02542-F352: A Mark in History
Let me show you “hero” the leader of the demonic army, the one you swore to kill, the demon king Drakornia Manafesto. Or you can call him by his formal title “Country of Gloria FIRST HERO” -- Anon Guest
They say every hero is someone's villain. Perhaps every villain is someone's hero. It's hard to imagine some of History's villains in that light. Perhaps Vlad the Impaler was kind to children and loved playing with kittens. Perhaps Jack the Ripper doted on a daughter. Perhaps the man who threw uncounted thousands out of their homes to build an enormous park for the public also was a god-fearing gentleman who went to his place of faith every week, regular as clockwork. Those who look into History rarely find those details.
Drakornia Manafesto, Gloria's First Hero, had not thought of things that way. He had simply loved his country. He had wanted it to be great. He looked into legends and lore and the long swathes of History and found an era in which his tiny plot of land, with cities huddled together for protection, had been great. In that any Historian might call any era great because it was full of interesting events. Historians seem to love wars, invasions, plagues, and suchlike. He could imagine that his little country of Gloria could fight back against the bigger kingdoms.
He found a way to be nastier, meaner, more violent, and more destructive than anyone else around them. He did so by allying with what could be conceived as the biggest of evils he could lay his hands on. Some history books paint it as an act of desperation. Some say it was seeking the strength he needed to give his people living space. Some say he only meant to make his country great again. Either way, he became host to a strong demonic spirit, used its magic and strength for his own.
The corruption was a natural consequence, some said, a noble sacrifice he was willing to make to ensure Gloria rose to take a proper place in the world. A worthy and noble thing to do to make sure the other nations didn't bully theirs any more. Day by day, bit by bit, the demon inside of him made itself known in his flesh. His fingernails became claws, and the skin there turned blacker than the darkest night. Horns sprouted on his head, and his eyes slowly turned yellow as his pupils turned into slits. The skin that didn't blacken turned blood red, and all the hair on his body slowly exchanged themselves for sharp scales. The hair on his head became bladed quills, his teeth grew back pointed and sharp. He craved rare meat, raw meat, the blood of the living...
It all happened so slowly that the citizens of Gloria didn't notice. They told themselves that his habit of drinking the blood of Gloria's enemies was something to invoke respect in other nations. They told themselves that he only drank the blood of Gloria's enemies. When he called for others to make the same sacrifice, the citizens of Gloria volunteered in droves out of a manic fervour.
There are no Humans left in Gloria any more. After the volunteers, Drakornia asked for patriots. When he ran out of patriots, he used the prisoners. Now... nobody in Gloria has a will of their own any more. Not even the children. No living soul there has come from nature. Their sacrifice was one he was willing to make.
In one way, Drakornia Manafesto has achieved his goal. He once claimed to unite all nations in peace, and help Gloria to be central to that aim. He once said that he would end war. He has done so. No nation neighbouring Gloria fights each other any more. They are united against the demon hordes of Gloria... An army like no other, pitted against odds no-one has ever seen before.
Unfortunately for Gloria, only one army has gods on their side. Unfortunately for Gloria, demonic forces are weak against anything sanctified. Unfortunately for Gloria, the gods prefer people to have free will.
Drakornia Manafesto chose his path. He chose his fate. In a way, he chose his end. He promised an unending peace for Gloria... and he got it. There is unending peace in Gloria. The kind of unending peace you always find in barren, cursed land where nothing can live and nothing can grow anymore.
 Mostly because it helps date the strata in which other little curiosities are found. The wrong kind of historian likes war because they want to pretend they could have done it better. True historians like discovering little details of everyday life which have been lost to time because of the wrong kinds of historian.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / leafsomen]
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