As the last sounds of battle faded and the pitiful moans of the enslaved filled the air, Damien stepped up to survey his prize. He stood on a haphazard watchtower of lashed together logs and enchanted roots that jutted high above the sprawling forested valley below, offering him a god’s eye view of the land that would one day be his. The green tree tops swayed in a peaceful dance that tightened his stomach. So much wasted space. So much untapped power. Problems he would correct in time.
The vehicle of his victory stretched before him: a wide river that cut through the fertile lands below like a growing serpent, spreading its maw to spill into the deep lakes of the Wild territory. This measly outpost had been built to protect the mountain spring from Damien and his kin. Now it would serve as the staging grounds for his conquest.
When his work here was done, Damien’s corruption would span the entire forest that separated his lands from the stone tombs of the Guard, granting him dominion over a territory greater than anything his short-sighted mother had ever imagined when she had left his sister in charge of their failing kingdom. In one fell swoop, he would convert the denizens of the Wild into his own personal army and his sister would have no choice but to proclaim him the rightful heir.