Thur'lex The Devourer Wins A Fight

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It was a nice day, not too hot despite the heat of the desert and the bandages around his body. The sun was hard on vampires, but he'd made sure to keep himself covered ever since he got up after the Calamity. Continuing his weekly trek through the sands, Bernie marched on into the dunes, hoping the weather stayed as good as it had so far. His cargo was heavy, but the diamonds he'd been gathering in the sands were needed to keep the blood flowing.

He remembered the last time he'd made this journey, and what had found him out in the sands. He'd had the misfortune of being followed by an insane horror for a week, but it was all finally behind him. Still, he was a little nervous about where he stepped, wondering if one false move could summon another monster to bother him.

After an hour of walking, he finally stood on the outskirts of the town. It was probably a bustling city once, but most of the buildings had collapsed and barely anyone still lived there. The only people left were vampires, since their need for blood made it hard to mix with people that were still alive. He headed down main into the apartment complex where most everyone in town lived. It was hard to live anywhere else since most of the buildings were either ruined or had no electricity.

Arriving at his floor, he immediately noticed something odd. His door was left open. Bernie was certain he'd locked it when he left that morning, so who could have opened it?

Panic raced through his mind as he wondered if the monster had returned. No, it couldn't be that thing, it wouldn't have unlocked the door and left it in one piece. Taking in a deep breath to calm his nerves, he slowly crept up to the door and peeked inside. Someone was sitting on his couch, watching the tv. Someone much too short to be the monster.

"Who are you and how did you get in here?"

The intruder gasped in surprise and fell off the couch. Quickly standing back up, they turned to Bernie and gave their reply.

"Who I am isn't important, what matters is my quest. I awoke in the desert recently and was directed to the apartment to find my quarry. Have you seen the beast that must not be named?"

"I take it you're talking about Thur'lex the Devourer?"

"Shhh! I said it must not be named!"

Walking closer to the intruder, Bernie smelled something foul. It looked like his mystery guest was a lich, and they probably hadn't bathed recently.

"Are you sure you want to find this thing? It's not really the kind of guy I'd want to spend time with."

"Of course I want to find it, that's why I'm alive. I returned from the great beyond to stop the monster from ending humanity, and I will not rest until I have returned the beast to its prison."

"Oh… I've got bad news for you then."

"Was I too late? Did that creature already succeed?"

"Not really, humans went extinct a long time ago. It had nothing to do with you or Thur'lex."

"So you're telling me that the people I swore to protect are all dead?"

"I guess so? There's still people left alive, just no normal humans."

"So I was resurrected as a walking corpse for no reason? I could have just stayed dead and nothing would have changed!"

The lich flopped down on the couch and screamed into a pillow, probably coating it in corpse dirt. Bernie made a mental note to disinfect the room after the lich left.

"Apologies. It's difficult being reborn for no reason."

"Sure, but would you mind finding someone else to give you a tour around the world? If I have to deal with one more nonsensical adventure I'm going to snap."

A low rumble of thunder echoed through the apartment and the sky outside darkened, with a gust of wind rushing through the hole in the wall. Bernie nervously scratched at his bandages, knowing all too well what was coming next. Another crash and the front door was kicked off its hinges across the room, splintering in two.

"I'm home!"

"This isn't your fucking house!"

Thur'lex the Devourer, the monster of thousand nightmares, stepped into the apartment and glowered at the vampire.

"I will tolerate your insolence this time servant, but do not forget your place again. I've been banned from the senate, and I require a decoy to draw the guards fire while I sneak around back to take back my throne of skulls."

As Bernie stood there regretting his outburst, the lich's spectral eyes lit up, recognizing the voice it had first heard four thousand years ago.

"Hey, you're the guy I was looking for! Thur'lex the Devourer, right?"

Hearing the voice it had detested for so long, the beast gave pause. That voice, though it was pushed through rotted vocal chords, still belonged to the face the monster had associated with the four thousand years it had spent locked away. Locked in a prison, hungry for violence, longing for freedom, wishing for destruction of the species that had put it there. And its great enemy had finally come.

But now, things were different. The monster was four thousand years older, and its power had only grown. The human was bust a fragile husk, barely held together with what little necromancy magic they had. It used one of its several hands to push the vampire aside and stomped over to its old foe.

"How's your day been?"

"What."

"Mine's been pretty terrible to be honest, I just found out everyone is dead! Isn't that neat? I spent all that time resurrecting to stop you and it looks like we were both too late."

"Preposterous, I've never been late for anything. I intended to escape your prison after humanity was eliminated, that way I could destroy you without anyone getting in the way!"

"Alright then, go ahead."

"Go ahead with what?"

"Destroying me."

"I will destroy you whenever I want, not when it's most convenient for you!"

"Well, I'll be here whenever you're ready. Not like there's anything else for me to do."

As the two ancients spoke, Bernie got up from the floor and slowly crept out the shattered door. Maybe he should just find somewhere else to live where crazy people wouldn't bother him so often. Somewhere nice and secluded out in the desert.

"Servant! Get back here this instant!"

He flinched at the command, and turned back to the creature in the hall.

"You're undead, talk to the other undead and ask why they're not trying to stop me."

"First of all, vampires and liches are nothing alike. Secondly, I already talked to them and they think there's nothing they have to stop you from doing anymore since humanity went extinct."

"So what you're saying is that I need to be more evil, do something so horribly despicable they'd have no choice but to face me!"

"I cannot stress enough how much I did not say that."

Thur'lex the Devourer giggled in excitement as it plotted its next dastardly move, considering all the ways it could burn this place to the ground. That lich didn't think there was anyone to endanger? The monster would prove them to be dead wrong.

It stomped down the hall, tearing doors off hinges and searching for any other vampires in the building. It grabbed the poor blood suckers and dragged them outside, amassing a crowd down in the street below. Now it only needed to find a spectator.

Far above on the roof, an old rotting corpse sat on the edge of the building, watching the gathering below. They guzzled another can of blood, not caring that it all spilled out the hole in their jaw. A loud thump came from behind and a looming shadow was cast over them, a large form stepping in to assert its dominance.

"Come here to destroy me?"

"No, I'm going to do something far worse. I'll kill everyone else on this planet and make you watch, only then do you get to find out what it's like to die."

"I already died once, that's why I'm a lich. So did all those vampires down there. Do whatever you want, it doesn't matter."

"What? Of course it matters, everything I do matters!"

The corpse dumped more blood down its neck-hole, tossing the empty can off the roof. Thur'lex the Devourer turned to the vampires on the street, struggling against the immobility spell the monster had placed on them.

"Look up to the sky and tremble mortals, for this corpse here is your savior! The person who swore to protect you from my wrath, the person who said they could stop me! The person who lied to you all!"

It grabbed the lich and held them above for the crowd to see.

"Now watch these people as they burn, and know that you can't do anything about it."

It was hard to tell with the mummified face, but the lich looked rather bored.

"What's wrong with you? Why don't you care?"

"I don't know, maybe it's because I've been dead for four thousand years and there isn't a single living human on this godforsaken rock?"

"What? That's ridiculous, just because there are no humans left doesn't mean there's nothing worth saving. There's plenty of people left, they're just not humans."

The beast flew down to the street and grabbed one of the vampires.

"This fellow here for example, he may be a bloodsucker, but he's still got dreams. He wants to move to the Capitol and make a career in music, see his name up in lights. But he's never going to get to do that because I'm about to rip out his eyes if you don't do anything to stop me!"

The lich grunted and went back to their drink.

"Alright, how about this one here? She's a single mother doing her best to give her kid a better life even in this post-apocalyptic world. It's not easy working two jobs, but she's putting in the effort for the sake of her family. It would be a shame if I made her watch me eat her child, don't you think?"

"I guess that would be unfortunate, but they all die eventually."

Letting out an ear-splitting screech of rage, Thur'lex the Devourer put the vampires back in the pile and sat down next to the lich.

"What's it going to take to get you to care about this place?"

"I don't know, it's hard to care about anything when you've already felt what it's like to die."

"You really think dying is that bad? You should try being locked in a magical prison for four thousand years. At least when you're dead you're not aware of how long you've been trapped."

"It all seems so pointless now. If I hadn't locked you up, all you could have done was speed up the inevitable. None of this matters in the end."

"But that's the funny thing. I thought my existence was pointless when I learned there weren't any humans left. But even without any actual humans, their disgusting humanity remains. All of these unhumans, they're still people. They're still deserving of my torment."

"But… why do you want to hurt them? You said it yourself that they'll die eventually. "

"That's exactly why I do this. Even though it's all pointless, they still try to delay it as long as possible. That's what makes it so fun to end them, they want to live, but deep down they all know it's only a matter of time. I'm simply reminding them just how short the clock can be."

"I thought you were trying to punish humanity for something? I kind of remember you talking about ancient sins last time we fought."

"Oh, of course. That's just one factor, I have very complex motives."

"Right, just like you're trying to make me fight you because it's part of some grand scheme and not just because you're bored."

"What? Don't be absurd, I don't want you to fight me. I'm only trying to make sure you know the gravity of the situation so you get the full effect when I make you watch me kill everyone."

The lich stood and looked over to the frozen vampires. With a wave of their rotting hand the vampires were freed, swiftly retreating away from the monster that had taken them.

"Oh, so you don't want them to die? How unfortunate, you're trying to stop me. Too bad you'll only meet the same fate as the rest of the world."


An explosion outside rocked the building, causing Bernie to drop the bag he'd just spent ten minutes filling with debris from the last explosion. Looking out through his hole in the wall, he spotted his two unwanted guests fighting in the streets throwing magic and scraps of concrete around.

Someone knocked at the door, which promptly fell off the wall revealing most of Bernie's neighbors standing in the hall.

"Hey, mind propping the door back up? I'll probably get it fixed tomorrow after the lunatics are gone."

A few of the vampires exchanged nervous glances, before one stepped forward and spoke.

"You won't be able to fix it tomorrow, you've been evicted."

"I'm sorry, but what?"

"After a lengthy discussion, we've decided that you've probably violated our no pets policy. You and your… thing are going to have to leave."

"Seriously? None of this is my fault, it's all the weird monster thing! It's been following me around ever since it found me in the desert, if I could get rid of it I would."

"Well that's the problem, if you can't get rid of it we're going to have to get rid of you."

"But… I've lived here my whole unlife, you can't just kick me out! Where am I supposed to go?"

"Anywhere but here. Perhaps you can get a job at the Factory, they don't seem to mind monsters there."

Agonizing shouts came from the street below and the beast of darkened skies flew up to the apartment.

"Servant, we must vacate the premises immediately! I've defeated the lich, but in their dying breath they told me that they were merely a pawn of some greater force that I must destroy!"

The rotted and battered corpse flew up through the wall hole to follow after their enemy.

"Defeated me? More like you got tired of getting your ass kicked, assuming you actually have one."

"Don't be absurd, that was clearly a victory for me. Or at least a draw."

Ducking out of the conversation, Bernie packed up his few belongings and walked out past the stunned vampires.

"You guys can kick me out if you want to, but there's no way I'm letting that thing follow me again."

With that, he stepped out the door-hole and off into wherever his unlife would take him.

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