Ozymandias of Egypt
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, Ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Last Emperor. The Dragon Emperor. Conqueror of the three worlds. Destroyer of an hundred cities. Slayer of the Eternal King.
Born from an egg.
His name was Mogon dao Mogash before he was banished from his people and he wandered a long time, his soul heavy, until he came upon a savage human tribe. It became his. And then there was war. Everywhere. Soon it became his war too.
From war he got vast treasures, the grandest of palace, a thousand beautiful women, fame and most of all, power. The Wild Continent was ultimately in his control, his undefeated armies everywhere.
Of course, it still wasn’t enough. He was preparing a vast invasion across the Dead Sea when the Three Crones came to see him. They were from his people and as far as anybody knew, as old as the Whitered Mountains.
One had pointed silver teeth and a twisted tree stump rose from her hunching back.
Another had small pure-white pearls for eyes, spinning eerily in the middle of her orbits. Her hair was so long it touched the floor even as she was floating. Her feet a few inches above the floor.
The third seemed like a perfectly, if awfully old, normal lady. As long as she didn’t open her mouth to speak that is, for thin wisps of smoke would then get out and linger awhile.
They invited him back to his home which he flatly rejected. They said he would have a Triumph and that all of Heavenly City would attend to it, and he still dismissed it. And then they added the littlest of details that he would receive the Gift of Immortality. Such temptation! Even sensing trickery, such a man as he couldn’t refuse!
And so, despite everyone in his entourage advising against such a course, he went to his long-lost home, letting his generals continue the war preparations without him.
He was welcomed in the Heavenly City with an equal amount of splendor, fawning and open contempt (he had just a few bodyguards with him after all). He had his Triumph alright, parading a gilded chariot on the Elysium.
He didn’t care much about it all, he was impatient to have the promised Gift. Even the long-living elves didn’t have immortality. The Three Crones were known to be fickle creatures but they were very powerful sorceresses, maybe even goddesses and quite certainly immortals themselves. It would be a fitting reward for a Conqueror such as him and a just repayment from a people whom have disavowed him so early in his life.
To be continued…