Til Only Rubble Remains

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Tucked away within the hills of the eastern plaguelands, broken-down and forgotten like a long-soured well, the rubble of the manor gripped the hillside in stubborn defiance of the crevasse below. Even at the height of the House, it had been little more than a ruin, but now its tumbled-down stones were a hazy memory of what it had been, leaving little wall or roof to shield the rooms from the angry sky, with the lone exception of the main hall. Here, the highly vaulted ceiling rained down leaks and darkness, the broken windows doing little to pierce the shadows. As if by malicious irony, the room grew darkest at the hearth, where Sabachthan sits in soot and grime, his two baleful eyes glaring out over the wreckage like glowing coals.

Rising above the destruction of their House had been the vision of his elder brother, Netheryn. The others had all deferred to Netheryn’s leadership, his strong voice unifying them into directed vengeance. In those days, battle had waged across the land, and the House rose up with the intention of seizing entire territories from the alliance who had betrayed them. They laid ambushes and executed strategies that allowed them to overcome foes of greater strength. Without hesitation they followed Netheryn’s commands, willing to sacrifice themselves for the House.

But as the House grew in power, the world changed. Attention shifted away from the old conflicts and toward new realms. New sources of power allowed a single individual to wield might enough to level entire towns. With nothing but wreckage left in the old world, no enemies stayed to fight, and Netheryn had withdrawn in disgust.

Without his elder brother’s vision to direct them, the House disintegrated before Sabachthan’s eyes. In battle, no one followed the orders of the commander, each warrior thinking himself strongest and wisest—the fools. The cohesion of their forces, once their defining and most formidable characteristic, had disappeared with Netheryn. New goals and motives of treasures and power drew members away from battle and into crags and keeps, wherein they lost even their identity. All forgot themselves and drifted away one by one, until only Sabachthan and ashes remained. Not even the rats stayed on without Netheryn to rally them.

Netheryn had always been a short-sighted fool.

Sabachthan sighed, closed his eyes, and then only darkness and ashes remained.

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(( Wrote this up for an assignment in my MGT-605, Leadership and Organizations, class. Thought I would share it here, for old time's sake.

(( There are lots of times when I miss hanging out with you guys and your creative characters. ))

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