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Commanding Beggars

(Or, how Beggar in Draconic Glory attained his Command)

Beggar in Draconic Glory slowly descended the spiral staircase, his mind racing. He had been summoned less than an hour ago by his mistress, Resplendent Vision of the Perfection of Oblivion and was trying to predict the reasons for such an audience. He saw his Deathlord around once a month to receive instructions and deliver reports. He had only seen her a week or so ago and was not due for another audience this soon. He pondered the possibility of some failure he had performed but silently shook his head. He could think of no instruction he had received that he had failed to excel at. Perhaps there was an implied instruction that he had missed and his liege was angered that he did not read between the lines.

He stopped as he reached the heavy Soulsteel door to the Labyrinth. Taking a deep breath he reached out and opened the door, unsure if it would lead straight to his mistress or make him search through its winding corridors for her. He was greeted with the sight of her throne room and study. Rows of priceless first age books lined the walls, a reminder of the lost knowledge she held. Beggar kept his gaze lowered as was proper and walked to the throne in the centre of the room, dropping to his knees and touching his head to the floor. His mistress sat like a statue, not moving nor breathing.

“Rise, Beggar in Draconic Glory,” said Resplendent Vision.

Beggar rose, standing with posture at attention, ensuring that his pose held the pride that he knew his mistress loved but also radiated the servitude that he owed her. She smiled at his efforts. “My liege, you sent for me?” he said.

“Yes, my devoted servant,” She replied, “I have a task for you.” Beggar waited for her to continue. “You are an excellent infiltrator and assassin, my enemies and allies alike tremble when they hear that they have displeased me.” Beggar allowed himself a small smile at her words of praise. “You have served me well in organising my spy networks, efficiently filtering the knowledge of those who would interest me to my ears. But the blood of Dragons runs through your veins.” Beggar suppressed a snarl at this, he was well aware of his family connections. “Though weak and barely Exalted the by-blows of the Elemental Dragons are talented when it comes to fielding troops. Their tactics have developed from those of the First Age, and they wield their armies with skill.” Beggar remained silent, unsure of where this was leading. “Therefore I have decided to place you in command of a garrison of my troops, to lead in my name against those enemies I choose. You have the ability to lead and I wish to see it developed in you.” Beggar’s heart leaped with the joy of the greater power this would bring.

“My Lady, your wisdom is as always perfection. I shall use the intelligence your spies give me to lead your troops to victory.”

“The spy networks will continue to deliver information, but I do not wish you attentions to be divided in this endeavour,” Resplendent Vision replied, Beggars brow creased slightly, “Therefore I am removing the spy networks from you and placing them in the hands of my new servant Silent Scream…” Beggar’s eyes narrowed. He knew that the Deathlord had more than one Abyssal servant and had been aware of his mistresses’ new toy, supposedly another Day Caste assassin. Beggar wondered if he was falling from favour with his liege.

“My Lady,” he began, “Your generosity is humbling to a servant such as I, but surely the strength of the military will be boosted by timely access to the knowledge gained from your spies.”

She cut Beggar off, “You will still receive information, but this information will be gathered and passed on by Silent Scream. I wish to strengthen the links between my servants, and you will be able to liaise well with the new spymaster. You have made an efficient and effective unit and I will see that he continues that. You will now transform the soldiers under your command into just as effective a unit. When the time is right you will lead your troops against the forms of the Dragons in my name.”

Beggar thought of a dozen arguments to retain control of the spy networks, and wondered how far he could push without being seen as impertinent. Resplendent Vision cut him off. “You may go now, my loyal servant,” her command brooked no dissent. “Your officers are waiting for you in the barracks at Dathnor, and you may meet with Silent Scream and familiarize him in the ways of the spy network.” Beggar bowed deeply and turned to leave. “Serve me well in this and the rewards will be greater than you imagine,” his mistress called after him, “Fail me and the punishment will eclipse your worst nightmares.” Beggar swallowed as he closed the heavy door, beginning the long climb upwards, silent save for the whispers of Oblivion in his mind.

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