My name is Vulifarnes, with the accent upon the final "e". I have a certain amount of free time as we prepare for the final assault on the remaining free (or as-yet-unconquered) enclaves. So I indulge myself in correspondence and contemplation.
What am I?, you may well ask. Tllith asked in its first letter. I ask myself that as well. I was born human, that much I am sure of: the fifth bastard child of Duke Maronthidoiknes of Sfegra to be born in the Year of the Cowering alone. A randy man, my father, and very few indeed were the women or men who dared tell him no. He had a practice of finding some charge to imprison those who refused him, and then demanding their favors in exchange for some petty improvements on the circumstances of their imprisonment. When he tired of them he sometimes released them, or, as in the case of my mother and my four half-brothers that year, he ignored them in prison for a year or three.
I was not a strong child. Being raised in a dungeon cell does not give one much by way of nutrition or exercise. But I was a keen hand at hexcraft. My father made me the apprentice of the cursemaster of his guard. I grew up in the company of cruel men and bitter books, and I learned their lessons well.
Dholuy — the proper phrasing is "Great Queen Dholuy, The World Her Feeding-Bowl" — had started on the chains of her ascension. Her agents learned of me, and spoke to me.
Nhur Psanow, his name was: a small cold man, of the ethnicity of Ghorcia, and he knew well the tongue of hatred. He told me that Dholuy could implant live coals and live scorpions in my body, and I would become as a creature of horror and legend, and do what I willed with my father, and rule Sfegra afterwards in Dholuy's name — or more, much much more. I heard and weighed the words of Nhur Psanow, and chose to follow them. (Nhur Psanow himself did not live for two more years. My tail struck his head off at the Battle of Seven Sphinxes. The few who know it was no accident, and care, know Justice is my subordinate in the service of Dholuy.)
So, what am I? Humans call me Grăkkthăl. I have twelve legs, each ending in a trident claw. My face is frozen by chitin into a perpetual scowling staring glower. I do not regret that: bullets have bounced off my transparent eyelids, which made me smile in my heart as I could not on my lips. When I run — which is very swift but very painful — clouds of black smoke surround me, full of living sparks which are sure to chew my foes. I have defeated a squad of Oosmathi elite guards simply by circling around them a few times.
It goes without saying that my hexcraft dwarfs any true human's hexcraft, even as my body dwarfs their bodies.
It goes without saying that my execution of my father was protracted, artistic, extravagant, and both well-appreciated and well-understood by the inhabitants of Sfegra. The duchy switched its allegiance to Dholuy within the month. And the only reason it took me so long is that I chose to announce it at my investiture as duke, which, by custom and tradition, should have involved an oath of allegiance to Prince Simor. Instead I threw that oath, and the basin of water for the ducal baptism, in his face.
I estimate that Dholuy gave me one or two percent of her power. There are nine Grăkkthăl in all, of which I was built fifth, and of which I am ranked eighth. Only Toruz-Manac is thought weaker than I. Some say that it is because she is the only female Grăkkthăl, but that is not so: Yitan, ranked second, is female, though only those of us who have copulated with her know this. Toruz-Manac to a large degree, and I to a smaller one, sometimes choose to negotiate rather than to slay.
I have performed monstrous new deeds to match my monstrous new body. At the head of a legion of Half-Born soldiers and human auxiliaries, I drew a line of flames on the map of Dalacia from Narasco all the way to Miria-Tuy. When Herlieu parleyed to surrender to us, and then withdrew from the parley as an army came behind us to break our siege — after the army was itself broken, and the walls of Herlieu, I ordered that two minims of molten lead be poured into the mouth of each adult of Herlieu, and let those survive who could. I may be 'weak' and prone to negotiation, but I respond with the full fury of a Grăkkthăl when negotiation is denied to me. Besides, I was furious that the demands of Dholuy, fear, and war required me to waste time and materiel in punishments.
Another point of weakness. Much of the world remains to be acquired. Much of the remainder of the (known) world is Oc Dvul, a vast northern country: a land of fierce horsemen, fierce winters, and fierce cabbage soup. I argued that we should wait for some years, perhaps five, to make sure that our armies are good in these circumstances. Yitan and the others called me coward. For a time: Yitan made the attempt, and crawled back home with barely a thousand humans and no Half-Born out of a huge army. So now we are trying my approach.
But, as the coward, I have little role in these preparations. So I can waste time in conversation. There remain no people on my own world who are willing to converse with me, so Tllith has generously agreed to introduce me to offworlders.