Chapter 2
An Opportunity Lost, An Opportunity Gained

AT 1081 (AZ 1453) - Autumn
The Black Keep, The Darklands

The Dark Race considered their plans by the millennia, but the flaw of his human blood left the Monarch Lich impatient at the scant four years that had passed since he issued his challenge to the Zephyrians. If he was so impatient, how much more must the full-blooded humans have been? And yet they had not come.
Or perhaps it was more accurate to say 'they had not yet come'. When he sent the scouting parties to Notos in preparation for his invasion, they carried with them hundreds of magical constructs that acted as his eyes beyond the borders.
When the Zephyrian fleet arrived in Notos, a few ships turned back shortly thereafter. It was a curious development and so he sent a couple constructs to follow them. When the ships reached the Zephyrian capital, a carriage under armed escort came to meet it. Out from the carriage stepped a young woman. She could be none other than the halfbreed daughter of the King of Zephyr. What business would bring her out of the safety of the palace to the harbor?
The construct followed her at a distance. There was a risk that she might detect it due to the power of her Xotikan blood, but she did not seem to take any notice. She was guided below decks to an inner chamber and met by a man clad in the same manner as her bodyguards. She dismissed the bodyguards accompanying her and followed the one from the ship inside the chamber. There lay a body wrapped in a burial shroud. The man pulled back the shroud and uncovered the face of the King of Zephyr.
The Monarch Lich's heart sank. His other half was dead. He was dead before he could witness the Monarch Lich's might and despair at the ruin of his forces and the inevitable fall of his homeland. The pinnacle of his joy was wrested from him after all these years of waiting. It was not fair.
His disappointment quickly turned to rage. How dare that worm escape him so easily. How dare that cowardly Dark Eternal trick him into withdrawing his hand when he was at the peak of his power. Curse him! Curse them all!
As the fires of his rage burned hotter, his powers grew unstable. In his fury, he lashed out blindly, raking the walls with æthereal claws, tearing his undead servants to pieces. He raged and raged, but all the destruction brought him no relief. Eventually the fires of his anger waned and he slumped back upon the throne.
Looking out on the ruined throne room, he knew he had acted foolishly. His human blood was supposed to be weak, but why did its flaws influence him so strongly? Drawing power back into himself, he began to repair the damage he had done. This also meant pulling the scattered pieces of the servants back together to reform their bodies. As he was doing this, the realization finally came to him and he felt all the more a fool for not realizing it sooner.
What was death to one such as he? Did he not rule over the dead? Had his servants not slept under the earth for centuries before he came to this land? The death of the King of Zephyr was no obstacle to his plans at all. He would slaughter the Zephyrian legions, then raise them up and take them across the sea to overrun their homeland. The Monarch Lich would enter the royal tomb and bring his other half back from the land of the dead to witness the ruin of his kingdom. His loss was no loss at all.
His plans may have changed, but his goals did not. He would still achieve his every desire. The day of fulfillment had only been postponed. He had waited this long. He could wait a little longer.