Dakron Foresworn

Dakron Foresworn, First Commander of the Foul One’s Guard, Senior General of the Legions of Darkness, Grand High Poo-bah of the New City of Zaalkadeh, and most trusted Lieutenant of his Majesty Helzbello the Foul, Lord of Darkness, Spear of the Dark Forces, etc, etc, looked at his orders, and then, somewhat shakily at his men.
His men, wearing uniforms that almost- but not quite- violated a number of Hollywood copyrights, looked back.
Dakron read, in a voice that trembled, though not out of fear (alright, yes out of fear, the very real fear that this would probably result in him being very, very dead), “These are our orders: To infiltrate Lyte City, to enter the Palace of Happiness, and to kill Prince Haewn Daringsword, Most Beloved Commander of the Heavenly Hosts, Adored of Maidens, etc, etc.”
The soldiers looked at each other, and then back at him. One of the braver- or more stupid- ones said, “How are we gonna get in?”
Sighing, Dakron flipped through the thick packet. There was a page of basic orders, five pages ensuring that no one would be able to find a way around the basic orders, seventeen pages of threats for the unlucky person who did manage to find a way, thirty-six pages outlining possible signs of mutiny, forty-two pages on ways to prevent mutiny, and, finally, the detailed orders, all one hundred-and-eighty-six pages of them. All, of course, in eight point font, single-spaced, with quarter-inch margins. He scanned the dense lines of text. “Through the Back Door,” he read finally.
He stared at the page, hoping that it would magically answer the question they all were thinking. “And no, it doesn’t say how to get through the Door.”
Someone extremely stupid- probably the same as before- said, “Are you certain?”
Dakron pulled out his repeating hand crossbow (patent pending) and shot the speaker. Questioning authority was bad for morale- usually that of the authority.
The fact was, however, that his orders went straight from 932h (identifying the Back Door) to 932j (first steps inside Lyte City) without a 932i or any way to open and get through the Door.
With a brave attempt to get through this never-ending journey, Dakron led his men- fifty-seven of them exactly- from Zaalkadeh to the City of Lyte. They crossed the Forest of Doom, the Plains of Doom, the Mountains of Doom, and the Desert of Doom. Dakron was of the opinion that the explorer Doom Forthwith (so named because of an accident involving his mother – the local fortuneteller – and a nearly deaf scribe) had been overly egotistical. By this point, half his men had died, most of those had then come back to life- which had been very odd-, a dragon had shown up, eaten two horses, and spontaneously left again- which had been even odder- and a minor landslide had taken out the remainder of the horses, seven men, and a small country. They finally entered the Vales of Never-ending Happiness, where Dakron spent three weeks trying to get directions to Lyte City, before discovering at the bar that it was actually the City of Lyte and getting directions in five minutes.
All of this put Dakron in a very bad mood. The City of Lyte was located some five miles up, perched on a never-moving cloud like some obscene dragon staring down at the world. There were three ways to get up: climb the Marble Staircase, all five miles of it, repenting for your sins along the way (or, if you were a more normal person, cursing the architect who had come up with this infernal torture device); hold a polite conversation with one of the winged soldiers in the Heavenly Host (a monetary donation was required, of course) and be flown up; or go in through the Back Door. This third was the choice for the residents of the City of Lyte, who of course knew the passwords to get through the door. Dakron, on the other hand, did not.
The Back Door was a metallic gray box, about six feet to a side, and eight tall, standing alone in the middle of the Plains of Sunshine and Light. There was a button on one side with an up arrow on it. Lacking any other option, Dakron pushed it. Doors slid open, revealing that the inside of the box was also metallic and gray.
With a groan, Dakron gestured his men in. If it was a trap, it would be better to die now than have to return defeated. The box didn’t look large enough to hold all of them, but somehow they fit. Dakron suspected magic.
He stared at the wall. There were more buttons there, a slew of numbers and a few letters. Dakron snarled for a moment, and hammered at the L.
The box made a rattling sound, like someone had dropped either a small tank or a large machine gun down a flight of metal stairs. It jerked upward, hovered uncertainly for a moment, and then slammed back into the ground.
Someone screamed. Dakron wished he had the room to turn and shoot them.
From above, a clinical and detached voice said, “Names and purpose, please. This elevator has been programed to detect truth. Any attempt at lying will be treated as an attack.”
Dakron jumped and swore. There was only one thing to do: tell the truth and hope that whatever entity was operating this contraption was stupid enough not to report them. “Dakron Forsworn and men, come to invade the City of Lyte, murder the Prince, and cause chaos, destruction, and misery.”
There was a long pause. Dakron could feel the glares. From a slot in the wall, a pin-on badge popped out. Dakron looked at it. It read “Dakron Forsworn &co., Invaders.”
The voice said, “going up.” Annoying music started playing. It was akin to the martial songs he was used to, except without any of the exciting bits.
With more unsettling clanking noises, the box ground to a halt. The doors opened, revealing a bright and sunny walkway.
Very grumpy at this point, Dakron waved his men and quickly followed them.
***
***
***
The elevator was confused. It had thorough programming, covering two main options: Either the occupants were residents, and were hence to be sent up, or they were lying, and the alarm was to be sounded. The last set of riders, however, fit neither category.
The elevator made a whirring noise. It didn’t like being confused. To solve the problem, it descended at full speed, making an awful mess when it hit the ground. This made it feel better, mostly because this spread the problems around.
When people came, the elevator refused to open, having reached the conclusion that people were confusing and it was just easier to ignore them.
Reprogramming took four months and required the skills of seven computer programmers, three international experts, twenty-seven politicians, one PR specialist, and an undead author.
Following the horrible death-by-lethal-incision of Prince Haewn, the elevator received instructions to the effect that any occupants claiming to be invaders were not to be allowed up and the alarm was to be rung immediately. No one bothered to point out to the programmers that it was a little too late for this to be of any value.





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