Stephen had been sitting waiting for over an hour. He had made camp in the swamps with the Morlock tribe built up around him. He looked out from his tent at the warriors going about the preparations that he had assigned to them. He felt a connection to the days in Wallachia, before his ascension, back in the days when he and the Demon Son rode against the Ottoman Empire.
He watched the carriage pull to a stop in front of him and allow the passengers to exit. Ritz and Mags strode triumphantly to Stephen and presented to him the quarry that they had been sent to retrieve. Maddox followed them calmly his dinner collapsed on the floor of the carriage. He seemed to grow more youthful with each step, his greasy grey hair thickening and becoming browner as he walked. The scars in his forward stood out in high relief. Stephen watched Maddox approach; he had been pleased with his accomplishments in the past. Where Stephen prided himself on remaining in the shadows, Maddox was a master of misdirection; his motives had been picked over for decades by the pathetic human forces trying to determine his true motives, what they failed to understand was the end game had not been reached. Maddox had followed the plan that Stephen had laid out almost a half century earlier and now they were prepared to bring the final moved into play.
Maddox knelt before his master.
“Lord Bathory, I trust you have been pleased by my progress.” Maddox said.
“Rise, my loyal servant.” Stephen responded. “Your service has been exemplary.”
Stephen gestured his hands out across the camp.
“Please come walk with me, I have much to discuss with you.” Stephen said.
Rising Maddox followed along and the two walked through the camp watching the preparations around them. Walking in silence they watched the Morlocks continue with their tasks.
“So what do you think of the army that Damien has provided for us.” Stephen asked.
“They appear to be ready to march into battle, and I will be glad to be among them when you lead them, My Master.” Maddox responded.
“I appreciate your faith in me, my servant. I will need to be with Damien to bring down the final stoke that destroys our enemies; I will need a general to lead this army into battle.” Stephen explained. “You have shown me that even through decades of starvation you have been able to follow orders to an exact degree. You will be the general that leads my army into battle.”
“It will be an honor to step out on the field of battle and lay down our bones for the glory of the Demon Son master.” Maddox said.
“Good,” Stephen said. “Together we will lead this army to greater glory than any of our predecessors ever dreamed of. However before the final battle can be joined, we must make sure that the final push to drive our enemy over the edge into action must be made at the exact right point.”
Stephen gestured to a clump of Morlocks as they approached them.
“These are the elite of the army.” Stephen explained. “They are the most powerful and vicious and blood thirsty of them all. I have personally selected them to be the force you lead to not only pressure them, but to also limit their ability to stand against us in any significant way.”
“What is my mission, My Lord?” Maddox asked.
“The one thing that could reveal our intentions before it is time would be the Rhymer, The Madman. As he is not he has surrendered his power for sanity, but at any time he could reclaim them and if he were to see too much it would put at risk everything that we have done.” Stephen explained. “You must take them and make sure that his sight is forever placed out of his reach, she must be kept from him forever. Once they realize that you have done this, they will not be able to stop themselves from charging off to confront us and falling right into my trap.”
Maddox looked out over the dozen or so brutes, some male some female, but that no longer mattered to them. They were now creature of raw power and hunger. They lived to rip and tear and devourer. And like Maddox himself they received all the excitement they needed from the vile acts they committed.
“She is the key for us; you will go and teach her what we are truly capable of.” Stephen said.
“The power and fury of your minions will rain down on them, My Lord.” Maddox said. “My family will see to it.”