“YOU,” Kierkegaard yelled from his side of the battlefield, “HAVE BALLS. I WILL GIVE YOU THAT.”
Dragomir bowed lightly. He was now entirely Non, his body an opaque oil slick that appeared to be on the wrong side of the fight. He was standing with his legs clasped tightly together, looking far more poised and controlled than the gangly man Kierkegaard remembered from his days in Castle HaHaWeGotYouChumps.
“I’VE GOT MORE THAN THAT,” Dragomir replied. Reaching into a pocket, he pulled out a folded sheet of parchment. He unfolded it, smoothed it with one hand, and waved it at the Non. “CARE TO LET ME TALK, OR ARE WE JUST GONNA FIGHT ALL DAY?”
Kierkegaard waved a hand. He was honestly interested, and that surprised him. He enjoyed warfare just fine. It never really got old. Killing itself could be dull - he couldn’t count the number of human, orcish, and snake person soldiers he’d decapitated with his portals, for example - but warfare was usually fluid and exciting. He supposed a little speech from the opposite side could nevertheless be considered a form of warfare, and he would let it happen, even if it was a trap. He suspected he knew where Dragomir was going, and soon speeches wouldn’t matter a hell of a lot anyway.
“OKAY,” Dragomir began, voice echoing loudly enough that Kierkegaard assumed it reached just about everyone nearby. “THIS WAR - “
Someone from his side of the battle threw a rock at him and yelled something Kierkegaard couldn’t hear. The rock pinged off of Dragomir’s helmet, and he glared at the army behind him. Several more soldiers looked ready to do the same, but their commanders seemed to hold them back. Kierkegaard assumed they were one or two wrong words away from full-on rioting against Dragomir. He wasn’t their commanding officer, after all, and they had no obligation to listen to him.
Straightening his helmet, Dragomir began again. “THIS WAR HAS GONE ON TOO LONG. PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES HAVE DIED, AND FOR NO GOOD REASON. THE NON ESCAPED CONFINEMENT, AND THAT’S FINE; BUT WHAT YOU’VE DONE SINCE THEN IS BAD. NOW THE WORLD THINKS THEY’RE THE BAD GUYS. THIS IS… WRONG?”
Kierkegaard cackled at the hesitation. He knew just how angry that would make everyone else on the battlefield feel, and sure enough, more rocks came flying at Dragomir. Several soldiers from the Imperium tried to advance on him, spears and swords ready to strike, but he leaped nimbly away, onto the chunky barrel of one of the Imperium’s few remaining tanks. He balanced on the tip of the barrel effortlessly.
“I’M NOT SAYING THE IMPERIUM IS BAD EITHER! SO CUT THAT OUT!” Dragomir turned back to his paper. “UH, SEE, THERE ARE ONLY TWO REALLY BAD GUYS HERE. EVERYONE ELSE IS CAUGHT UP IN MISUNDERSTANDINGS AND POWER-PLAYS. I THINK THEY CAN ALL GET ALONG… AS LONG AS THESE TWO EVIL JACKASSES ARE REMOVED FROM THE EQUATION.”
Kierkegaard narrowed his eyes. It was not a surprising declaration at all, at least in one sense. He knew Dragomir would try to convince his Non that he was the baddie from the start. He had not expected Dragomir to point the finger at two people, and started to wonder how much the man knew. Dipping into a portal briefly, Kierkegaard knocked on the tops of two of his nearby Nothings, and they began to rumble slowly towards the front lines, away from their original flanking positions.
Dragomir noticed - it was difficult not to notice enormous black balls on mechanical legs - but he tried to ignore the Nothings anyway. “THIS FUCKING PENGUIN WHO CALLS HIMSELF YOUR LEADER HAS BETRAYED YOU, MY FELLOW NON. HE TURNED ALL OF YOU INTO WEAPONS FOR HIS AMUSEMENT, JUST LIKE HE HELPED TURN ME INTO A WEAPON. I’M TIRED OF BEING A WEAPON. I KNOW ALL OF YOU ARE TIRED OF BEING WEAPONS. AND IT GETS EVEN WORSE, BECAUSE HE WANTS TO DO THIS TO EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU!”
Dragomir pointed at the werewolf that was tied up between the two armies. Everyone had looked away from the beats, but now all eyes shifted towards it, watching it writhe. Its movements, once ferocious, had suddenly become crazed and erratic, and its body spasmed as it flopped up and down on the ground. Its wide yellow eyes bulged in their sockets, and it chittered and laughed crazily… and its body parts began to dissolve and fall apart. Kierkegaard felt the Non on all sides of him tense up, and realized that he, too, was clenching his teeth, because the werewolf’s movements could only mean one thing.
“K… Kara…” the werewolf burbled, flopping and twitching as it died. “Kara… I… K… Kara… eeeeehehehehe…”
The werewolf wasn’t alone. Everywhere in the Non army, Emmett’s hybrids were undergoing massive organ failure as their master died. Their bodies, now bereft of a controlling consciousness, began to fall apart and die almost immediately in the most gruesome fashion imaginable. Kierkegaard himself had the pleasure of watching a burly, ochre-eyed rhino fall apart on the front lines, its heavily-armoured body collapsing by segments into a heap of yellow-grey. The Non near it jumped away in surprise and disgust as the beast reached out to them, either for help or for shock factor, Kierkegaard wasn’t sure.
That dumb fuck got himself killed, Kierkegaard thought. Isn’t this peachy. “PRETTY PICTURE YA PAINT, DRAGOMIR! AND LOVELY TO SEE YOU IN YOUR PROPER COLOURS FOR ONCE! BUT WHY THE FUCK WOULD I HORRIBLY DISSOLVE MY WHOLE GODDAMNED ARMY? YOU DON’T MAKE A LICK OF SENSE, BOY! MAYBE I OUGHT TO LOP YOUR DAMNED HEAD OFF FOR LYING TO YOUR OWN PEOPLE!”
“HE’S NOT LYING!” a third voice joined in.
Kierkegaard wheeled around. One of the titanous Non was stepping out into the small no-man’s land between the two tense armies, its body changing from a mass of grouped muscles to a plainer, but still enormous, form. The Non stood near the werewolf’s body, though not too close, as if fearful of what physical contact might mean. And sitting on her left shoulder -
“MY NAME IS TITAN BLUE,” the Non proclaimed, cupping her hands over her nigh-invisible mouth. “MY BOSS WAS COMMANDER EMMETT. I JUST KILLED HIS ASS, BECAUSE HE TRIED TO TURN ME INTO ONE OF THESE THINGS AS A TEST. THIS MAN OVER HERE IS SPEAKING THE TRUTH - TWO OF THE NON HAVE BETRAYED YOU ALL.”
“AND I,” the figure on the Non’s shoulder yelled, his voice a hoarse quack that caught Kierkegaard completely off guard, “AM PLATO! I’M ONE OF YOU TOO! AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT THAT PENGUIN OVER THERE ONLY WANTS TO SEE ALL OF YOU DEAD!”