The Central Council Hall, Hellquill Castle
During the monthly cabinet meeting, the Reich Minister of Economics Bebop Heffelfiner proudly pronounces the current Financial Momentum within Hellquill to his ‘Führer’, Wingfried von Katerinburg:
“…To put it simply my Führer, for the last three months, the unprecedented levels of income with the trade from both East and the West has made our days of budget deficit long gone! …Our gold reserves are basically overflowing, but I must say that we should accelerate the process of reserve liquidation, to prevent the ponies from taking any funny “measures” in the future with our foreign reserves, such as those in the River Republic in particular…”
“And are there any signs of a mass public boycott of our products?”
Instead of Heffelfiner, the Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs Edler Wingenberg answers:
“Our Foreign Intelligence Director Silberkrone has informed me that our spies have successfully discredited most of these campaigns… temporarily… But it is obvious that most of these attempts will eventually resurface as we take firmer steps again against ponies. And until we gain enough financial power, we will continue to make newer alternatives and narratives for our campaign.”
“Yes… of course. But do not worry, the Chancellor River Swirl shall hold up until the moment our troops cross into the border with Riverlands…”
Reich Minister of Economics Heffelfiner asks:
“I mean no disrespect by any means my Führer… But I am starting to think that we won’t even need to directly conquer these lands to begin with. Even the Far Eastern parts of Riverlands now trade with us on an unparalleled level. And you have my word, my Führer, most of Riverlands will become our financial vassals within a year or so-”
The Reich Minister of War Kamphaus Demetrius speaks out in fury:
“-And waste all those efforts we put into armaments? Get your mind together Heffelfiner!”
“Demetrius, it’s okay. Let him continue.”
Demetrius abides and merely stares at Heffelfiner.
Heffelfiner continues after the silence is ensured:
“Well… What I was saying to my Führer was that we had identified the choke points of Riverlands trade. And as we are slowly putting all our competitors in certain products worldwide into bankruptcy, the Riverlands will have no option but to purchase all their essential industrial goods from us. Meaning that we can sign more… “benefiting” trade agreements with them, at the expense of the sovereignty of River Coalition members.”
The Reich Minister of Interior, Grintalon Schumann, comments:
“This seems like a legitimate plan…”
Bowser Klaproth, the Reich Minister of Information and Propaganda joins in:
“I too must agree with Herr Heffelfiner, my Führer. You need to keep in mind that we are still numerically inferior to ponies despite everything. I believe that we can not only conquer the rulers of all these countries but the hearts of the people living in them as well if we were to take a more peaceful approach.”
The sounds of mumbling and quiet arguments rise in the room, it was obvious that not all members of the cabinet are agreeing with Heffelfiner’s opinion.
After the arguments in the room diminish, Katerinburg turns to Heffelfiner and calmly answers:
“Herr Heffelfiner, and other Ministers. I duly understand why you might think that a plan involving more peaceful takeovers is more valuable than saying; an all-out invasion. You still don’t know about our lord Maar’s plan to its fullest yet, none in this room does. But to put it bluntly, what we are doing here is not just mindless irredentism. There is much more to it.”
Count Pallas Dusktalon, the Reich Minister of Intelligence and Espionage, asks:
“Such as, my Führer?”
Katerinburg inhales and talks in a determined tone:
“To truly conquer a country though pathetic ways such as trade control are essentially degrading… Not only for the one who is being conquered but for the conqueror as well… It is what a Harmonist, or worse, a “Boreasite” would do… To resort to such lowly ways is for those who lack the power, and for those who lack the honor and lack desire for self-preservation… And comrades, we are much but much more powerful than you’d even think. Do not needlessly concern yourself over the fact that the visible raw strength we hold is nowhere near to conquering the world. You’d be rightfully concerned if it was the former Katerinburg in front of you, but as you’d realize, that is no longer the case.”
Dusktalon asks again:
“I am very sorry my Führer, but was that supposed to be reassuring for us? What other factors are there that benefit us?”
Katerinburg points at his head:
“The thing that is in here is no longer just a brain… It is a machine… A defiant mechanism that denounces the existence of boundaries. It is filled with projects and calculations that you wouldn’t even think would be possible. And in fact, many of those projects are already in effect… A time will come when all of you gain the right to learn about it.”
Erika Stahlflügel, the Reich Minister of Armaments, asks in curiosity:
“But my Führer, since we are the members of the cabinet, shouldn’t we already be in the right to learn about our- I mean- your projects? That would be the most beneficial as it would give us a clear vision about our future plans.”
“Ah, Erika… Such an amazing question. I am so proud of you… And now to your question; all you need to know is what you already know. I don’t want any of you to get too comfortable just because we got more plans at the ready. All of you need to make plans and act accordingly to what you already have at the ready in your respective Ministries. Just remember, you are all just another group of servants in the eyes of our Lord Maar. None of you are special just because you were there at the time Wingfried von Katerinburg released the true power of Maar. But all of you still will be ranked based on your dedication to the cause and effort. So, do your best.”
Katerinburg then turns to the Cabinet Secretary Aya Destinn:
“Is this will be all for today, Aya?”
Aya calmly responds:
“Yes, my Führer”
Katerinburg turns to his cabinet again:
“Good. Everyone, have a nice day.”
And just as everyone was about to leave, Wingfried calls out to Edler:
“Edler, you come with me.”
A bit surprised, Edler simply nods and starts following Wingfried.
Less than a minute later, they exit the meeting hall. Edler asks as they are walking through the corridors:
“Yes, my Führer? What would it be?”
“Remember how I said; “you’ll gain the right to learn”?”
Confused and curious, Edler responds with a simple word:
“Well, that is about to gain a lot of relevance right now. -To put it bluntly, it’s your time to “learn” about a “project” of mine.”
Edler was shocked:
“Let’s preserve the surprise, shall we?”
“Yes, but- I mean, I get it my Führer, but… why me? Am I worthy or something?”
“Edler, Edler… Use your mind for a second. You are the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I am revealing this to you only because this concerns you.”
“So… Another takeover?”
“Not quite… And by the way, Edler, do you remember about the recent renovation of the former dungeons at the lower levels?”
“The one that happened 2 months ago?”
“Yes, but I had to lie in order to cover up some details regarding it. That was also the reason why I forbid everyone to enter it ever since… Until now.”
Edler realizes something is off with the direction they were heading towards.
“Wait… My Führer, but we are heading towards your office.”
“Just for a few papers… and a surprise.”
Edler doesn’t question, as they arrive in the office.
Wingfried goes for his desk first as they enter and picks up a paper from the drawer. He then approaches Edler and hands him the paper. Not sure how to react, he stares at Wingfried with a blank face. Wingfried speaks out in his place:
“This is the operation. Everything you need to know is on that paper.”
There wasn’t much on the paper, and it looked more like an application or a report paper than a secret operation document. Either it was a very unsophisticated task, or it wasn’t anything serious. And although, if it was, why would the head of state bother personally inviting him to his office? Overrun with questions, Edler decides to read the paper first and then ask questions. He takes a look, and less than 10 seconds later his eyes widen, and 30 seconds later, he felt like as if he was about to have a heart attack. Edler screams:
“My Führer! What is this?!”
“Ah Edler, how funny of you. Just trust me and do whatever is written on that paper.”
Edler looks at the paper again out of disbelief. The paper “detailed” an operation about intentionally leaking vital information regarding ethnic cleansing by SG paramilitaries via newspapers in other countries. If it was something trivial, Edler would go on without questioning anything, but because of the content in front of him, he speaks out:
“My Führer, I strongly urge you to reconsider this operation! We have spent the last 2 years trying to cover up the things we have done in the Longsword! Not even our people know about this, let alone other countries! This will completely destroy our reputation forever anywhere! My SG and us will never recover from this! This will doom all Griffonkind forever!”
“You are being dramatic again.”
“What you mean dramatic? What about our trade with Riverlands? If they learn that their governments are collaborating with griffons that do blood sacrifices against ponies, then not even the Frau Chancellor can hold off the angry masses! This goes against everything we have worked for so far! Even our collaborators will go against this! What about Reformisten? What about Griffonkind? What about Maar?”
Wingfried calmly puts his hand on Edler’s shoulder:
“Edler… Edler… How many times have I told you?”
Wingfried inserts his piercing claws inside Edler’s shoulder, as blood comes off at an unusual scale. Edler drops the paper while grunting. He tries to hold off the pain while grabbing Wingfried’s arm. He struggles to push the arm away from him, but could not do so not even an inch. He remembered what the creature in front of him really was. He had completely forgotten that the being in front of him is the physical manifestation of Maar and not the blue griffon that used to be in its place.
Katerinburg speaks to him in a loathsome tone:
“DO NOT QUESTION US. Do you understand?”
Edler grasps the position he is in, and only silently shook his head. Katerinburg finally lets Edler go and watches him crumble to the ground like a sack of wheat while holding his bleeding shoulder. Edler looks at the blood coming out of his shoulder and then stares at Wingfried. He didn’t feel anger against him but was actually awestruck by the power coming off from Maar. In a way, he was glad that he wasn’t an enemy of him. Who knows how would he treat him if he was really an enemy if this is the way he treated his servant just because of questioning him?
Edler struggles to get up, while continuously being looked upon by Wingfried. He looks at the blood-soaked paper on the ground:
“I hope we have a copy of this document.”
Wingfried picks up the blood-soaked paper. He touches the paper once and all the blood soaked by the paper suddenly drops to the ground. Wingfried then gives the newly cleaned paper to Edler again. Edler stares at the paper, a bit unsurprised but curious:
“My Führer, why do I have a feeling that all of our jobs would be far more practical if you used your powers a little bit more?”
“Remember what I told you. You griffons should work according to the number of resources you have at the ready, and our powers don’t count.”
Edler looks at his wound:
“Can you at least do something about this, my Führer?”
Wingfried waves his hand once, and the wound disappears as if it was never there. Except for the bloodstains and holes on Edler’s uniform, but he feels like he had asked for enough already.
Without paying any more attention, Wingfried looks away and walks towards his desk again and presses a button hidden in its drawer, revealing a secret elevator that was hidden in one of the walls. Wingfried raises his hand:
“Ta-da! My first surprise.”
Edler looks at the elevator bewildered:
“I really don’t know anything about this castle.”
“Let’s fix it then a little bit, shall we?
They eventually enter the elevator; it had an industrious look into it and looked like a very fashionable steel cage and it resembled anything one would expect from a Dictator’s secret elevator to the lair. Here, Edler was once again surprised, this time by the number of floors the buttons displayed. It showed that there were 7 levels under the castle.
“I don’t even know how we managed to build 5 extra levels in just two months without the notice of anyone. I don’t even remember any dirt coming out of the castle.”
“I have my own ways. And just so you know, it will be 30 levels before the end of this year. And in about 2 years, it will be the foundation of an underground fortress, if not a city.”
“That wouldn’t be a surprise for me at this point my Führer.”
Wingfried mumbles to himself:
“…Everything has to start from somewhere…”
Wingfried pushes the button with “-5” on it. The elevator loudly and slowly starts. It sounded industrious but the small sparkles coming from the top of the elevator inserted doubts into Edler’s mind.
As the elevator starts moving slowly, Wingfried talks to him without any eye contact:
“Can you accomplish it?”
“The Operation? Sure.”
Edler pulls out the paper and stares at it again:
“My only complaint would be that this could be a bit clearer.”
“Your part in the operation is fairly small, the real job would be those in Karthin and Griffenheim. They’ll “leak” the information to all the newspapers there, and then it will spread all over the world like a plague, all the way to Equestria.”
“Giulio Beakolini can do that fairly straightforwardly since he already has the control of the state and all its agencies. But for Ferdinand Dawnclaw… I am a bit suspicious, my Führer. What does he even have right now?”
“Just leave that to Ferdinand. I know him. He can take care of himself.”
“And by the way, my Führer. You mentioned Equestria. Are you trying to send a message to someone?”
Wingfried raises his finger:
“One. I am trying to send a message to one certain pony.”
“And who that pony would be?”
“We’ll get to that…”
Edler didn’t push further, as he was distracted by the sight visible from behind the elevator bars. As far as he could see, it was simply nothing like the former dungeon he saw before. It wasn’t even a dungeon anymore, but instead, a medium-sized military complex. In any other circumstances, it wouldn’t be much impressive, but considering the fact this all was deep underground made everything a lot more impressive for Edler. The only thing that was missing was the soldiers in it, which Maar would fill with gladly in the near future.
“You really make any griff feel like he is on the stronger side, my Führer.”
“Our goal is the complete transformation of Griffonkind, and the removal of all Boreas nonsense in front of it, Herr Edler. In the future, facilities such as these will be as common as water and air for all griffons. And raw power and wisdom will be synonymous with the word “griffin”.”
Elevator finally comes to a halt. The door automatically opens, revealing the “level -5”.
Wingfried steps out first, followed by Edler.
The level was tall enough to be used as a hangar for small planes, as almost everything was made out of concrete, steel, and akin materials. The place itself was covered with thick metal doors and platforms alongside heavy machinery. A glorious indestructible underground fortress, even the weapons that could destroy or at least harm its structure weren’t even invented yet. It truly felt like the beginning of a Mass Military Complex rivaled by nothing and that could soon very well be the new capital of a Weltreich.
“All this greatness… Yet it is so empty.”
“We’ll take care of it in no time. This level was built solely for the new army which will be under your command soon.”
“Ah, of course, of course…”
Edler continues to admire his surroundings as he continues to walk alongside his Führer. He asks again:
“And my Führer, with Changelings now starting their invasion of Equestria, the ponies-”
“They’ll despise us even more, I know.”
“Well, our volunteers and equipment supply to the Changelings are already on their way. And on the paper, it said that the operation will commence in about a week, so…”
“You are worried that somebody might try to stab us in the back in the process… especially the Changelings…”
“My Führer, I think not even Queen Chrysalis is fully under our control. I honestly don’t know how she will be reacting to the news.”
*Sigh* “Would you please kindly shut up Edler? I have a plan for every single possible outcome, you know this very well. Just stop bugging your mind about it.”
“Well, I’m not- “
“Edler, please remember that we can read your mind. No need to lie-”
Their conversation was disrupted as a fleshy sound arose from one of the doors they were passing by.
“-My Führer? I thought that no personnel entered here before.”
“No high-ranking personnel such as you, except for one…”
Wingfried smiles as he approaches the door where the sound was coming from.
He opens the door revealing a medium-sized room, that from looks, was either a medical unit or an equipment storage place. In the middle of the room, there was the infamous General Steeltalon the Butcher, with his back against both and a pony corpse in front of him, surrounded by blood puddles on the floor.
Edler was surprised:
“Steeltalon?! What the hell are you doing here?!”
Steeltalon turns to two, with his face covered in bloodstains. He eventually notices Wingfried. And after an awkward stare, he smiles and speaks in an extremely informal manner:
“Oh, hi my Führer! How are you holding up?”
Wingfried smiles back. Edler looks at him rightfully surprised, he turns to Wingfried:
Wingfried calmly answers:
“Oh, it’s nothing Wingenberg. He was just wandering around and found out about the underground installation. So, he wanted to enter, and c’mon now, how can you ever say “no” to that smile?”
Edler looks at Steeltalon, weirded out:
“And what’s his duty here was supposed to be?”
“Ah just stuff he would do regularly.”
Wingfried calls him out in a silly-mocking manner:
“Hey, Steeltalon! Why weren’t you present at the Cabinet meeting?”
“Well, how was I supposed to prepare your drink if I was too busy with that?”
“So, you have it at the ready then?”
“Of course, here!”
Steeltalon raises a cup overflowing with blood.
Wingfried seemed delighted:
“Ah! How wonderful!”
“Wait, wait, I am sorry my Führer, but I really can’t catch up to you two. What the hell he is doing here?”
“I just told you, haven’t I? He comes by and slaughters whatever he likes to do so here and calls it a blood sacrifice. Although, I must say this has been causing General Steeltalon to not attend the cabinet meetings regularly…”
“Wait a minute… THIS SCHIZOID IS IN OUR CABINET?!”
Wingfried talks in a somewhat humorous manner:
“Ah, of course! General Steeltalon is the Reich Minister for Mental Disabilities and Minority Rights-”
Wingfried bursts into laughter before he could even finish the sentence. Edler on the other hand tries to laugh along, but he honestly couldn’t understand whether or not this was wholly a joke or not.
After bringing himself together, Wingfried approaches Steeltalon and gently grabs the cup raised by him. He takes a sip from the blood:
“Ah… This never gets old.”
Edler however, instead approached the pony corpse, there was something familiar about it.
After looking at it for a while, his eyes widen:
“Wait, this is…”
Wingfried takes another sip from his “drink”, and continues in Edler’s place:
“Yes, it is what remains of “Comrade” Starry Night. She has been a bit of a headache for us as you might remember…”
“Sir, “might”? I spent the last 2 years trying to get this pony! And now we successfully kill her, and nobody even notifies me?! Everygriff knows well how many SGs we have lost just because of her!”
“Yes… And I must admit, this certainly was an anticlimactic end for her. After all she’s been through… But she really tastes good, I’ll tell you that much.”
He passes the cup of blood to Edler:
“Why don’t you try *her* too?”
Edler looks at the cup of blood:
“No thank you, my Führer, but I might be more interested in how you manage to get her.”
Wingfried doesn’t change his face, but his attitude becomes serious:
“Then this conversation will not proceed until you learn what Comrade Starry tastes like.”
Edler looks at Wingfried for a second, as he realizes how serious he is right now, and continues to stare at the cup of blood. Although the sight of it was no stranger to him, the idea of drinking blood made him feel uneasy.
“If you’d like it, I can mix it up with something. Syrup, maybe?”
Edler tries to ignore Steeltalon’s nonsense and grabs the cup.
He knew that Maar would be already reading his mind, but he still couldn’t prevent himself from thinking to himself; “How did I come to this? Could I have somehow avoided this?”.
With still under pressure from the stares of Katerinburg, he tries to quickly take a sip from the cup. Even before drinking it, he still felt like he could throw up, but he forced himself not to do so. So, without wasting any time keeping the blood in his mouth, he swallows it. He shivers and feels like he could pass out.
But after he comes to taste it, he feels strange. He gains an urge to comprehend his surroundings.
He looks at Katerinburg, his beak and claws were covered in blood from drinking with the blood-tainted cup. He then looks at Steeltalon and the blood that covered most of his body and clothing, and the pony that was in front of him, which was the body of a legendary insurgent commander once, now it was covered in blood and gore, resembling almost nothing it once was. He then looks at the ground, also covered with blood, the “tools” of Steeltalon, which were already covered in blood. He realizes the sight of small remains of former victims, piled up next to the room walls. Other tools, hanging on the wall, which Steeltalon apparently never bothered with cleaning, as they too were covered in dried-up blood.
He then looks at himself. His uniform was still tainted with the blood from the wound his “Führer” both had opened and eventually healed. He looks at his blood-covered hands, as they continue to hold a cup filled with blood, blood that he just drank from, blood that comes off from a sentient being, a being that was as sentient as him, now nothing but food for him. He looks at the other two again, he never realized how alien the two looked to him, even though he wasn’t much different at this point.
His mind was filled with uncertainty and split between two questions:
“Do I belong here?” and “Am I… enjoying this?”
His short session of a mental meltdown was interrupted by Wingfried:
“So Edler, what you wanted to talk about?”
Edler felt dizzy and only could think to himself for a moment:
“Frankly… I don’t even know… Was there something in that blood?”
Wingfried pats him on the shoulder:
“I understand you. And no, there’s no nothing extraordinary in that blood.”
Edler tries to gather his thoughts again:
“What I was talking- “
Edler notices the body in front of him:
“Ah, it was about that…”
“Yes, yes… You still wonder how we got her. The truth to that is behind the reason why I brought to you here in the first place, besides just showing her corpse too, of course.”
Edler simply nods:
“Of course, my Führer. And where would that “reason” be located exactly?”
Wingfried makes a gesture, telling them to follow him:
“Come with me you too.”
Although Edler didn’t understand why he would want Steeltalon to be with him too, he simply didn’t question, he had enough for today. He merely exits the room with the two, leaving the battered corpse behind.
As they walk through the concrete corridors, Edler realizes that despite the fact that he had kept his expectations sky-high, he was still overwhelmed by the structure he was in.
They eventually stop in front of one of the steel doors, this one was particularly thick and industrial-looking. Wingfried commands Steeltalon to open the door, which he does while forcing his whole body. As the steel door opens slowly, Edler takes a glare at the room he was about to deal with. “What’s it going to do be this time?” He mutters to himself, fully knowing that Maar is listening to him too, but at this point, he had little to care about.
The “room” yet again defiled his expectations, as it resembled a mixture of a massive maximum-security prison and a stable suited for massive creatures. The structure was so massive that he couldn’t even see the end of the corridor he was staring at the moment because of its length and the lack of lighting.
Without any comments, Katerinburg slowly walks down the corridor, as the other two start following him.
The place was silent, just like other parts of the installation, and besides the quiet “sounds” of mumblings and buzzing coming from the cells and the lights, there was no sound worth noting.
These “sounds” however, helped Edler to prepare himself for what was about to come. As he was already too experienced at witnessing something extremely out of place. He simply held his calm attitude and braced for whatever his Führer was planning to throw at him.
Wingfried stops in front of one of the cell doors. He talks without turning to them:
“Gentlemen, the thing that is right beyond this door is the reason why I brought you here. It is an invention that puts everything else in this castle to shame. The primary piece of our plan!”
Wingfried opens the door:
He walks towards the barely lit room, and the other two follow him out of obligation.
The room was exceptionally large for a prison cell, even if this was a prison cell at all. And because of the lack of any kind of lighting, it was practically impossible to distinguish anything.
Wingfried calls out to the darkness:
A pair of glowing, blood-red eyes open in the dark side of the room. Besides the eyes, other types of movement also become visible. And as the eyes moved closer to them, it became obvious that all movement was coming from a single beast. A massive entity that was approaching them, resembling both an unnatural force of nature and a mechanic structure, grunting along its way.
The movements of the creature were both fast and sluggish at the same time. It was almost like the creature was a puppet controlled by invisible strings. And as it came closer to the light behind them, its features become clearer, Edler realizes what this thing was supposed to be, or at least what it used to be; a rotting carcass of a dead griff.
But it was no mere reanimated corpse. Its massive and grotesque structure hinted at extensive usage of dark magic by Maar, and the size of this creature was rivaled by only a handful of other creatures in this world, such as the dragons, perhaps not even they could match it. The elongated slender arms and legs, massive and sharp-looking beak and claws, and nightmarish and yet somewhat natural-looking red eyes. The eyes in particular stood out for Edler, as it was as if they were completely natural, just like how some creatures have red eyes because of huge amounts of concentration of blood, and the way light hit them made it look as if they were glowing.
The placement of heavy weaponry on top of the creature also becomes visible, partially explaining its mechanical side. It also becomes evident that these weapons are directly attached to the creature as there was no visible triggering mechanism, meaning that the creature would literally use its mind to command the weapon.
Edler also realizes something on the small gear the creature was wearing; an SG symbol in the middle of the belt, meaning that this creature was supposed to be under his command soon. This idea both excited and horrified Edler, but he also couldn’t dare to speak out and ask a question regarding it, and simply waited for Katerinburg.
The creature finally comes to a stop right in front of Wingfried, with its slender arms and legs stretching across the room, resembling those of a mosquito.
Wingfried turns towards the two:
“Now, gentlemen. As we’ve been suffering from a massive surplus of blood sacrifice “leftovers”, we have concluded that it would be a great shame to waste all those pre-built complex bionic structures that we call “bodies”. And therefore, needed a solution. And…”
He raises his hand:
“Ta-da! Here’s the solution to all of our problems!”
Steeltalon gets excited:
“Can I have one?”
Wingfried pats his shoulder:
“No worries. Soon, we are all gonna have one.”
Steeltalon gets even more excited, Edler however was more curious and skeptical. He talks dubiously:
“My Führer, is it possible for us to receive a more proper explanation?”
Wingfried turns to him:
“Of course, my loyal Wingenberg. As you’d already correctly guessed, this creature used to be something else… something more sentient. It took a great effort for us to “reconstruct” it, better than ever.”
Edler however, was still not convinced enough:
“But… why though?”
Wingfried gives him a simple hint:
“Recall what happened to her.”
Upon realizing, Edler immediately looks at the creature’s beak, noticing the bloodstains on it:
“It was him…”
“Yes… These creatures, my Edler, are what we would like to refer to as the “Maar’s Damned”. The one standing in front of you used to be a subordinate to Starry Night. And for they were not worthy of our blessings, we gave them a curse, but also an opportunity to “redeem” themselves, to repeal the greatest sin of all, standing in the way of the almighty Maar… These creatures are stronger than any mortal you’ve ever seen before, more agile, more enduring, faster, stealthier, and covered in magic, they require no sleep, no food, or any luxury of any kind, they need no assurances on coming back home alive, for their souls are now confiscated by us… Within mere months, there will be tens of thousands of the “Damned”, they will serve alongside our other troops, striking enemy positions first before the pitiful enemy even gets a chance to realize what is happening to them. Get used to them quickly, Edler. Soon enough, you’ll be commanding an entire division of these.”
Edler stares at the creature:
“…What about the ponies? We have lots of them.”
“Yes, yes. But sadly, for them, our magic didn’t work the way it did for the dead griffons… We can say that they are more machine than undead… Frau Starry Night will be joining them shortly too.”
“What do they look like? Something like the Dread League freaks?”
Wingfried laughs to himself:
“No. Worse. Something much, much worse… But we don’t need to see them right now.”
Edler realizes something:
“Wait a minute, why are you even showing this to me?”
Wingfried pulls up a scroll from his jacket, and passes it down to Edler:
“Remember how I told you that I was trying to send a message to a certain pony?”
Edler nods, Wingfried continues:
“You see, this pony is a very busy one. One that we simply cannot reach through conventional means anymore, now with the war had started. We need a… certain type of “messenger”, and a “controversy” that goes along with it, to make sure that pony takes that letter seriously enough.”
Edler looks at the “Damned” again and realizes what kind of plan he has for it.
Edler then looks at the paper Wingfried gave to him, he was genuinely surprised by the title:
“An urgent message to the Princess Twilight Sparkle of Equestria by Wingfried von Katerinburg of Hellquill…
…Her majesty must arrive at Hellquill at once for the sake of discussing the future and livelihood of all ponies and their associates in all of Continent of Griffonia…”
Edler didn’t bother with reading the rest of the letter. He looks at his Führer:
“My Führer, I know this pony- “
“Yes Edler, we all know her.”
He points at the Damned:
“Now will you give the letter to our messenger as the Minister of Diplomacy?”
Edler hesitantly hands the letter to the Damned.
The creature grabs the latter at an unnatural speed, almost making Edler jump in the process.
“Now, explain what it has to do.”
Edler looks at him confused and then looks at the Damned again. He tries to come up with something:
“You’ll be in Canterlot within a week! And deliver this letter to Princess Sparkle.”
The creature doesn’t even respond, but Wingfried seems happy with his performance:
“How amazing! You’re getting it already!”
Edler looks at him, exhausted:
“…Thank you, my Führer.”
As the three go back through the way they came from, Edler turns back and looks at the massive complex of corridors, filled with hundreds, if not thousands of cells, each having another nightmarish monstrosity inside. His heart was filled with pride, for he soon would be commanding the largest and the most powerful army in all of history. This idea, however, also filled his mind with horror, as he was genuinely afraid of the very thing he was supposed to command. He tries to ignore it and merely continues to follow the steps of his Führer.