It was a cool autumn day in the Lands of Night, with a gentle breeze blowing on the Plains of Dread. A pale white banner flew from the ramparts of Castle Terribel, the great fortress of House Cthonique which dominated the area.
There were many banners that could be flying there, and they all meant something different. A red one meant the castle was under attack. A blue one meant all was well. A green one meant to be on watch. A black one meant that it was a time of celebration.
A white banner meant it was time for a troop review.
Lord Mansemat Cthonique looked over the rows upon rows of soldiers, all standing at attention before his podium. Many were Erls of the Dread Plains and the Accursed Marsh, of course, but some were Ogres from the Mountains of Sorrows , others Goblins from the Shadow Woods, and a few even belonged to the Ghouls of the Blasted Heath--and they all served him and the cause of House Cthonique. Ten years ago, when his father died, it looked as if House Cthonique would collapse--yet now it was more powerful than ever. A smile spread over Mansemat’s lean, pale face. To think--he had not only equaled his father--but surpassed him. Even Mansemat was surprised.
His troops were gazing at him eagerly. It was time to speak. Raising a gauntlet-clad hand, the Dark Lord of Castle Terribel motioned for silence. “Soldiers of House Cthonique! The day of our ultimate triumph draws ever NEARER! The day when the hordes of Darkness cast down the proud denizens of the Lands of Light, and usher in a new age of TERROR! The day when--”
Suddenly, his hand went to his forehead, a distracted expression playing across his face. “Ummm--pardon me, gentlemen--it’s my wife. This will just be a moment, so--well, hold on.” His eyes shut tightly. “Ahh. Hello, dear.” ...