Meticulous Owl, Endless-Faced Spite

The Lion’s Left Hand

Quote: That reminds me of a story.

The First and Forsaken Lion is not yet so well known
in Creation as the young upstart the Mask of Winters, but
this tragic state of affairs is only temporary. One night, the
Neverborn He Who Holds in Thrall will finally permit the
oldest and mightiest Deathlord to stride into Creation with
his spectral Legion Sanguinary. Then, all the pretty little
gadgets of bone and flesh that the Mask of Winters calls
an army shall be ground to dust and forgotten with the rest
of Creation, and the living will know true fear of the dead.
Until then, the First and Forsaken Lion must wait and pace
the bounds of his citadel cage even as he strains against the
cage of his armor, a restless monster. Woe is his left hand
that must ineptly represent the Deathlord’s monstrous id
with delicate subtlety, so cunning and clever
that He Who Holds in Thrall does not realize
the Lion’s patience is not so absolute as his
orders. That hand is the deathknight most
recently fancying himself Meticulous
Owl but whom the Labyrinth dreads by the title Endless-
Faced Spite.
Endless-Faced Spite has no past. Once upon a time, there
was a pattern spider who knew otherwise, so the Abyssal
made a Charm to poison the strands of fate where it walked,
and so, it died. Or maybe he cast a spell. The story changes
each time he tells it. Once upon a time, Endless-Faced Spite
had a life, and that life must have been full of grand lies and
grander truths beneath them to have forged such a remark-
able individual from so hideous a body. Once, he must have
been someone very important or at least a nobody who should
have been important. The two are much the same. He says
so, and so, it is likely false.
Endless-Faced Spite is not a Moonshadow Caste. The
First and Forsaken Lion does not like that caste, and it is
never wise to be the object of his dislike. Besides, the Lion’s
senses and memory tell him that he Exalted this Abyssal as
a member of the Day Caste. Who dares suggest otherwise
and raise the impossibility that he is fal-
lible? Who dares suggest that the Ebon
Dragon has infiltrated his court and won
away a creature of guile from a boorish
warlord to a more guileful master? No
one tells that tale, and Endless-Faced Spite
is full of more interesting stories to pass
the time until the end of days.
Why just last month, Endless-
Faced Spite saw a locust who walked
like a man, and a metal-faced man who
walked like a locust. Where exactly?
Well, that depends on who is asking
and how the story best goes. Perhaps
it was in the swamps near An-Teng
very close to the Lion’s doorstep, and
wouldn’t that be something? Perhaps it was
far away, in which case less immedi-
ate to the Lion’s schemes but no less
interesting to other audiences.
Once upon a time, there was
a secret war, where demons in the
shapes of men played all about the
land like gateway pieces that old
Dynasts shuffle about before they
die. And what do the Dynasts have
to do with it? Well, that would be
giving away the ending before the
story is told. Once upon a time, as
in all war stories, there was need of
a distraction, a bit of sleight of hand
so no one saw the pieces shuffled, this
one swapped for that one, and so on. Once
upon a time, the Lion was a piece. But a
pawn? Or a king? And when darkness comes
to end the Games, might it be that no one hears
the laughter for the howling beast of war?

Meticulous Owl, Endless-Faced Spite

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