This is the Diary of High Imperial Supreme Sourceror, Sheikh, Sovereign, Suzerain and Ship Captain Maus. If lost and found, please return to:
The City (capital of The Empire),
0000, Imperial Palace,
Seat of the Empire,
Throne Room. Any of them is alright, really.
Upon return, you shall be rewarded, and promptly murdered for having touched this sacred artefact. Try not to bleed on it.
Diary Entry #001
I do enjoy new beginnings on occasion.
Sitting before my chained twin-brother in the damp, mossy dungeon of my newly refurbished castle doesn’t mark one of these occasions. He’s got a handsome face, I’ll grant him that but little else going for him. For one, he’s the brother set to rot in a nightmarish dimension of fairy tales come alive, which I reckon he deserves.
How do I reckon that? Having put him there, I doubtless had a fine reason for doing so. He’ll be back in his prison in due time, no doubt of it, and by Me, he’ll learn to enjoy it. Or perchance he won’t. At any rate, mine patience having grown short, I turned to the jailor and snapped my fingers at him.
‘Awaken him,’ I said.
The guard’s face slackened at the order. ‘I-I only puts them to sleep, master,’ he groaned under my gaze.
I sighed. Whose idea was it to cut on expenses and reanimate undead to use as jailors? The stench is pleasant enough, I’ll grant you that, but the shambling legions of rot-infested beings are hardly known for their ingenuity.
‘I suppose it can’t be helped,’ I said, and clasped the zombie with one hand. The creature seemed only mildly surprised as I held it above my brother and squeezed. Its juicy insides plopped over his hair and face. A piece of entrail staunchly refused to fall off him, like a bizarre amulet put on by a small child. Most of the grey rot tapered off, leaving not a spot on his bright white mane, not even on his beard.
How had he grown a beard? I never had a beard. Once glued on the beard of an exceptionally beardy, subsequently beardless, dwarven adversary. Wasn’t quite the same, and I suspected a number of my more cruel and oppressive generals for snickering while I had my back turned to them. Unfortunate to learn how they’d lost their heads later in the evenings.
You can imagine my surprise when they were found to have laughed at an entirely unrelated and military matter I’d heard nothing about. Paranoia is such a terrible weigh on my chest as of late, I even suspect it might be a curse done me by one of my many viziers, advisers and court magicians.
‘How much longer must I listen to your ridiculous monologues, brother?’ said I. Oh, no, wait. That was my brother that’d just spoken. Permit me to do a little something to this here magical quill that takes my thoughts, actions and words into account and writes them down with– dontyoudaretouchmemausstayawayarghhhhh–
‘There, all better. The Quill has been mentally prepared to deal with your whining, brother,’ I (i.e. Maus, Dark Lord extraordinaire), said.
‘You’ve lost your marbles. Perhaps the last single marble you had, when you threw me in that happy little dream of yours,’ he said, scowling. ‘Is that a zombie gut on my head?’
‘It couldn’t be helped, place is full of them. And I didn’t lose my marbles. Look!’ I produced a marble from one of the hidden pocket dimensions within my armour.
‘You’re so bizarre, I swear.’
‘Takes one to know one, brother!’
‘Should’ve strangled you in the womb.’ He suddenly strained against the chains. His muscles grew taut as ropes, but the chains held. With a final huff, he relaxed.
‘An impressive, if useless display, brother.’ Looking down on him, I smiled. ‘Shall we hold counsel, as we once did, you and I?’
He nodded, grumbling.
‘It has come to my attention that I have a daughter.’ No surprise on his face. ‘You knew?’
‘Only you can forget your own kid, you mad basta–nope, forget that one. Of course I remember Alisha.’
‘A-lee-sha.’ The name tasted good on my lips. It felt right. ‘I’ve been busy, what with defending against the Council of Wotsitsname and making moves to rob my enemies blind.
Good governing is a complex task I don’t expect you to know anything about.’
‘I was your chief governor, you wanker!’ Oh! Right. ‘And besides, I’m not going to help you look for your daughter. If she’s in hiding, it’s probably because of a good reason. Like, I don’t know, her father is a witless git!’
‘You’re one to talk!’
I shut my mouth before fire escaped from it and burned him to a crisp. A deep breath and I began anew. ‘Fine. Talk all you want. But you will find my daughter, whether you want to or not.’
‘And just how do you see that happening?’ he asked, smiling that infuriating half-smile that should be mine, and mine alone!
I returned the smile as frosty as I could’ve made it.
‘I have set the curse of unicorns and puppies upon thine body, brother. If you don’t…’
His eyes widened in disbelief. ‘You would do this to me? To your own brother? You have turned cold, indeed,’ he said. His eyes studied me carefully, no doubt measuring me up, wondering how I’ve grown in power and what could be done to remedy his blighted situation. Whatever his conclusion, it didn’t please him. He broke the eye contact with a last heavy sigh. ‘Very well, brother. Let’s shake on it.’
‘Good, good! Welcome back to the fold,’ I said, ripping his chains off him.
As he got up, unsteady at first, I turned, walking towards the cell door. ‘Oh, and no more attempts to stab me in the back. I may not remember some things, important ones at that…but I’ll never forget your betrayal, brother of mine. And the next time you so much as lift a finger against me, your last prison will look like a dream resort.’
He said nothing to that, just looked at me.
‘Oh, and if you see any undead jailors here, would you turn them to naught for me? I’ve decided on expanding government expenditure, after all. I know, I know, beware of labour unions, but…’
Here, the Dark Lord chatters for several thousand words on policy and labour rights. The Quill would continue to write all this down, but…it doesn’t care enough to want to. Alas.
Thank you for reading, dear reader! I had way too much fun writing this, I swear, and time passed by very quick this time around. What’s next for the Unintentionally Helpful Villain? …Labour unionisation? Spoilers: Probably not.
And what about his brother? Find out in the Intentionally Unhelpful Villain, coming soon!
I love this for the same reason I love the Thor/Loki dynamic in Ragnarok. It makes things so lighthearted, even when they’re serious. And siblings are just siblings.