Chapter 2
Meeting the Enemy

AT 1080 (AZ 1452) - Summer
The Black Keep, The Darklands

It took fifty years for the Monarch Lich to grow sufficiently in power to raise an army of the dead large enough to conquer the Darklands and restore the Chaos Dominion. While the least of these undead soldiers were nothing but dry bones held together by the Lich's magic, as his art improved, they became more and more like the people they were in life. It was strange seeing allies and enemies from Old Euros once again walk the earth. It was not pleasant to say the least.
However, it was not Caligo's place to speak his preferences. The sleep of his Companions was undisturbed and that was what he cared most about. He waged the Monarch Lich's war of conquest with swift and brutal efficiency so that their sleep might remain undisturbed. The Dominion reigned once more and once the Monarch Lich's grip on the Darklands was iron-clad, his ambitions turned westward.
At first Caligo thought the Monarch Lich would go after the folly of the Black Xotika who came before him, but instead he plotted to lure the legions of Zephyr to the Darklands to meet their end. It struck Caligo as a vain effort, for no general in his right mind would enter into such an uneven campaign. However, according to the Monarch Lich's spies, the Zephyrians were rising to the challenge, but in Caligo's mind, the war preparations could prove to be nothing more than a convenient excuse to further consolidate power in Notos. That would be the sensible thing to do.
Five years passed since the challenge was first issued and Caligo doubted the Zephyrians would come at all, but a few months earlier they made landfall at Talis and Oris, apparently with the intention of launching a pincer attack on the old capital. It was not a terrible strategy, but it did not account for the fact that the Dominion's forces could strike them from all sides before they ever got the chance to converge on the capital.
Despite his storied battle record, Caligo was never consulted on matters of strategy. In leading his own forces, he enjoyed broad latitude in how he accomplished any given mission, but directing the larger course of the war rested solely with the Monarch Lich himself.
To that end, he was summoned to the Black Keep, not doubt to receive orders to deploy his troops at long last.
"Sir Caligo, Your Majesty," the chamberlain announced as he entered the throne room.
The chamberlain was none other than the shade of Caligo's former liege King Pollux. Supposedly the dead king's soul was bound in this crafted likeness, but he had no will of his own and perhaps it was just as well. Otherwise how might his hated enemy react to the man who killed him?
Ignoring Pollux, Caligo approached the throne and knelt.
"I, Caligo, have come to answer your summons."
"The enemy continues his approach," the Monarch Lich said, "and the time for you to strike has come. The Zephyrians in the west has split their forces. One group occupies the Delphos while the other is in Balos. The group in Balos would appear to be marching on Karas. You will meet them there and crush them."
"It shall be done," Caligo replied.
"You have never failed me before, Sir Caligo. Do not fail me now."
"Your enemies in life will be your slaves in death," Caligo assured him. "I will make a great slaughter in your name and the slain will be added to your strength."
"I expect nothing less. Now go."
Duly dismissed, Caligo turned and left. Once he marshaled his forces, he would march on Karas. After so many centuries, he would finally face a real army once more. He was looking forward to it.