Friday, March 30, 2012

Why I Tried to Conquer the World

“This meeting of the Evil Overlords Guild will now come to order,” Acheros declared in his deepest, most sinister voice.
All around the table, the quiet conversations stilled, and everyone looked at him alertly.
“We will begin by hearing the latest status reports,” Acheros continued.
Qadira jumped to her feet. “First, I just want to know; did you really turn down Yasmina’s application to join us?”
Acheros sighed. “She’s an enchantress, not an evil overlord. She may be as wicked as they come, but she’s simply not in our league.”
“If she’d been male, you would have let her in!” Qadira pounded her fist on the table. “It’s blatant discrimination! I will not stand for this any longer!”
“So sit down!” Demogorgon gave loose to a long burst of cold laughter. “Besides, we wouldn’t be evil if we didn’t keep people from entering.”
“That’s right,” Rhadamanthus agreed. “Rejecting applicants only makes us more evil.”
“And if we let everyone in,” Acheros said sternly, “we’d be flooded with applications, and we’d have to change our name to the Slightly Evil and Sometimes Downright Nice Garden Club!”
“It’s not right,” Qadira sniffed.
“It’s not supposed to be!” Rhadamanthus exclaimed. “Who do you think we are? The Noble Heroes Guild?”
Acheros cleared his throat. “Vegeir, how have things been going for you?”
Vegeir solidified himself into the form of a human. “Very well. I have upped my demands for sacrifices. There has been much blood.” He dissipated again into the smoky black form he preferred.
“And your people? Your priests?”
{The people fear.} Vegeir’s mental voice scratched inside all of their heads. Everyone jumped.
“Don’t do that!” Qadira snapped.
Sulkily, Vegeir reformed into a mostly human shape. “I’m so much less evil this way, though.”
“Yes, well, we all know of your credentials,” Acheros said. “It doesn’t matter. How are your priests dealing with the people?”
“As I have commanded, they take the protesters for my sacrifices.” Vegeir licked his lips. “There has been little unrest lately. I shall have to arrange something to stir it up again.”
“Do so,” Acheros agreed. “Demogorgon? How are things going for you?”
“Taxes have been raised and anyone who fails to pay is placed in my quarries,” Demogorgon announced. “There are protests, but they are quiet about it. The people are in too much fear to properly resist.”
“Good, good. Qadira?”
Qadira sniffed. “No one has any respect for me. It’s a daily battle to keep my subordinates in line. They all seem to presume they have better plans.”
“Get new subordinates,” Rhadamanthus advised. “After a while they’ll get the message and behave.”
“Nobody wants to work for a female Evil Overlord, though!” Qadira sighed. “They all think I’m just a con. I get no respect in this business, none at all! The level of discrimination—”
“Yes, yes, we’re all aware.” Acheros quickly changed the subject. “Rhadamanthus? Has the resistance been stopped yet?”
“No. I’m on the lookout for a Hero; the conditions are perfect. But I plan to be ready for him the instant he shows up. He won’t even know what hit him.”
“Just be sure that isn’t the spark that shoves him on that path,” Qadira said, rather waspishly. “On the other hand, go ahead. Maybe then we can replace you with someone with brains. Someone female.”
“I’ll let you know, I have a long history of perfect service!” Rhadamanthus lunged to his feet.
Qadira clucked. “Perfect? I’m sure that word is never supposed to be applied to us.”
Acheros cleared his throat. “Let’s move on to the next order of the meeting. How can we improve?”
“Yasmina would bring a spark of fresh life to the guild,” Qadira said promptly.
Vegeir pulled himself back into a vaguely human shape. “I’d rather have zombies. Who needs life?” He paused briefly. “Unless I can eat it. Then life is good.”
“Yasmina,” Acheros repeated, “is an enchantress and not an Evil Overlord. She’s simply not the right caliber. Any other suggestions?”
“Fire Qadira,” Rhadamanthus muttered, “and get someone with brains. Someone male.”
“That is the most blatantly sexist insult I have ever heard!” Qadira’s face was turning red. “There should be guild rule about that!”
Demogorgon scoffed. “And what you said earlier wasn’t sexist? As for a rule, who ever heard of an Evil Overlord guild having rules on behavior? We’re evil!”
Qadira shoved back her chair, leaping to her feet. “And that’s another thing I’ve been meaning to bring up! Overlord is an inherently sexist word! Why can’t we be the Evil Overpeople?”
“Because then none of us would get respect!” Rhadamanthus shot back.
“If we can get back on subject?” Acheros glared around the room and was satisfied to see them all settle down. There was, after all, a reason he was guild president.
Demogorgon tapped his fingers on the table. “It occurs to me,” he said almost silkily, “that none of us have tried to take over the world in quite some time. Our reputation is going to suffer if we don’t do something about this soon.”
There was a long moment of quiet. “Taking over the world is the most dangerous thing of all,” Qadira said finally.
“So it should be just what you want to prove yourself superior,” Rhadamanthus said quickly.
Qadira sniffed. “I don’t need to prove it.”
Vegeir solidified. “A conquest would certainly provide excitement and much death.”
“Yes, but it’s terribly dangerous,” Acheros said. “Who would agree to take the job?”
There was a moment of silence as the guild members looked around at each other. Demogorgon was the first to speak. “It seems obvious to me. For such a great undertaking, who else could it be but our leader?”
Acheros froze. Everyone else nodded eagerly.
{It would be fitting.}
For once, no one complained about Vegeir’s use of his mental voice. Acheros was too stunned to get annoyed, and everyone else was more interested in not being nominated as the one to try to take over the world.
“He’s right,” Qadira agreed. “After all, taking over the world is one of the evilest things you can do. The president of the guild is plainly the best candidate, then.”
Rhadamanthus hadn’t stopped nodding. “I can’t think of anyone better qualified.”
“But…” Acheros blinked, trying to work up a defense. He wasn’t given time.
“It’s settled, then!” Demogorgon clapped his hands. “And I move that we end the meeting. I have places to go and people to be cruel to, after all.”
“I second it!” Rhadamanthus and Qadira cried at the same time.
“We have a majority already!” Demogorgon smiled. “Motion carried.” He vanished.
Vegeir dissipated into the air. Qadira hurried out of the room, followed closely by Rhadamanthus.
Acheros was left alone. “But…” he stared around the room helplessly, “But I don’t want to take over the world.”

No comments:

Post a Comment