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This is a short story by Pax Orderia about a plan concocted by a certain entity to assassinate the second leader of the Great Knights, Jygarn Invincibilis and the beginning of her plot to take over all of Cranium:

They were responsible for taking everything away from us: our homes, our way of life, our King. But today, this will finally change - the Great Knights shall feel our wrath.

The four of us are lurking around Invinojug, hiding from patrols and such. To be honest, I thought more Dirvishes, or Dasinites as some call us, would heed the call of Medusa, or at least her Essence anyway, to avenge the legendary King Typhon. While I presume that almost all of us are completely loyal to our Queen, I know of a few dissenters, who are continually spreading rumours that serving Medusa is very literally suicide, although I'm sure that her Essence has ordered their executions for treason. Regardless, I think she also chose us selectively - we are disciplined enough to act like members of the Great Knights’ backward society, where everyone must have a place among everyone else. At least it's not a completely rigid structure, but I can't imagine how I could ever survive in a system like that, where I am a slave in everything but name.

Anyway, most Dirvishes would probably use the secret weapon too early. Yes, a concoction of ingredients more potent than sulphur, saltpeter and chatcoal; they call it dynamite. Apparently, it's more manageable and more potent than the previously used black powder, but it's also in the very early stages of development, so only two of the four of us are using it. Just to ensure that the weapon works more efficiently, it is packed with metal shards that will fly out and cause massive damage when the weapon is deployed.

Then again, I always thought that any Dirvish would willingly get their revenge on a certain Great Knight - the famed Jygarn Invincibilis. The Dirvish elders have told many tales of how Dirvishes were embroiled in skirmishes against the city state of Invinojug, and how this stickman, Invincibilis, rose to become a knight among them. Over the course of many years, many Dirvishes were slain by him and his soldiers, who always seem to hold a grudge against us. Why? Apparently they feel that serving our High King with unswerving loyalty deserves extermination. But they will learn.

These Great Knights have proven to be the greatest obstacle so far to our Queen’s expansion, having carved out a realm of their own to tyrannise their neighbours. Queen Medusa requires much more information to take them down though. She eventually plans to infiltrate their society, use her agents to enforce the laws of the Great Knights so strictly that it will turn the strongest of them to Medusa, the beacon of freedom from the Great Knights, while the weak will be culled like livestock. Personally, I think that this plan would take a very long time, but it's certainly more cunning and satisfying to turn your enemies into your loyal servants than killing them outright.

Ah, another guard patrol. That just means that I'm closer to my target, Jygarn himself, who is at the head of a military procession. I hide my devilish face under my cloak and tiptoe on the stilts I'm wearing, pacing towards an alleyway to hide from them. The weapon obviously isn't in my hand, even the most stupid of us would notice that. No, it's strapped to my chest, a sort of close-fitting vest that feels a bit bulky. However, they pass by rapidly, paying no attention to me. Strange, I thought that all Great Knights would abuse and search a stranger, or at least that is precisely what our elders told us.

Maybe not, but I'm now close to the main street. The stench of perfumes and flowers bring sold in the nearby market is overwhelming. How can they live with such pungent odours hanging around everywhere, although I admit that smoke and rotting flesh from the halls of the Eagle Mountains is not the most appealing smell either. Now that I think about it, these Knights live a lot longer than us: almost double the lifespan in fact. Maybe all that smoke is bad. I’ll reflect on that when I get back home. Currently, I must concentrate on Jygarn, and I can see another rather diminutive cloaked fellow over there - another Dirvish. I bet you that most other Dirvishes wouldn't notice and simply run straight at Jygarn to kill him, but the four of us have been briefed thoroughly for this mission: we are to coordinate a combined strike to all unleash the weapon simultaneously when we are in range. I do consider myself to be intellectually superior to most of my fellow Dirvishes, so Medusa definitely did a good job of selecting this elite assassination squad. However, I'm still unsure about how we’re going to be extracted - I mean, I don't mind dying, but I would prefer to survive.

The other two are in position now, concealed by a mass of cheering civilians heralding the arrival of Jygarn Invincibilis and the rest of his Council. Their fancy armour and shields can't protect them against our weapons. Slowly, all four of us converge towards our target, inching through the crowd towards the front. The guards seem completely unconcerned as they march past, not even sparing a glance at the crowd. Our opportunity is here.

From beneath my cloak, I casually pull out a thin wooden matchstick and brush it against the abrasive surface of the container. Perfect. The match lights up, and I see three identical flames appear at points in the crowd. I slip off the uncomfortable, stubby stilts and continue to tiptoe on the ground to maintain my false height and prepare to run. I smirk to myself - finally revenge will come.

The fuse to the weapon sets alight. Without a moment to lose, I rush out of the crowd, with three identical Dirvishes doing the same, all honing in on Jygarn. Our cloaks float to the ground behind us as we throw them off and sprint towards Jygarn.

At the top of voices, we unleash the weapon and scream: “Medusa wants you to have this!”

Hang on, am I wearing a bomb?

***

BOOM!

Splinters of metal pierced through Jygarn's skin, as it did to everyone else within range. Chunks of his flesh ripped off in an instant, and then he felt the intense heat of the four concentrated explosions, the sheer force of which folded in his spine completely and the heat began melting the armour. Within seconds, the de facto leader, and indeed Belfaenar Rochir’s chosen joint successor, of the Great Knights lay dead on the road, as did the rest of his Council.

The civilian's screamed as a few were caught in the bomb blast. They trampled over one another in panic and very soon, the street was deserted, save for the soldiers who were trying to recover their leaders, and a few sobbing children crying over their wounded or dead parents. The first part of Medusa’s revenge had unfolded, but the Great Knights were formed by a thirst for revenge - and that was the path they took.

***

Following Jygarn's assassination, the only remaining leader of the Great Knights was Saelara Rochir, who had focused her recent efforts on studying and rebuilding. Regardless, she saw fit to punish the Dirvishes for their assassination, and the Second Ice War was declared, intent on annihilating Dirvish strongholds within Great Knight territory, which in turn began a series of conflicts that would eventually eliminate the Dirvishes in the Engrin and Eagle Mountains. Yet, it was Medusa’s intention to deploy the Dirvishes as cannon fodder - they were very replaceable and would occupy the Great Knights for a very long time, enough to distract them from her rebuilding of power. Medusa had begun her plan of Northern Domination.