Blood mage bureaucracy
Deep into the wilderness, which even dangerous beasts only go into if they carry a shotgun, there was a castle on a cliff. It was, of course, an ominous castle, with tall towers and skulls on the gate. In his evil laboratory, the blood mage lifted his thin hands and spoke in a voice of thunder:
"No, I will not give you a pay rise!"
The goblins gathered didn't seem very worried, which is unusual in goblins.
"We lurk for three shifts after each other" the leading goblin pointed out. "And we have to feed the Hell Hounds."
"They're going to get some more feeding if you don't get some discipline!"
"Ha ha. Very funny. But we goblins have pleaded our cause with the Evil Minion Union, the EMU. Either you raise the pay, or get more goblins."
The blood mage sat down and rubbed his forehead. Things were much easier in the old days.
A remote castle, a few evil henchmen… Then you could really make a name for yourself. He used to have his dungeons full of enterprising heroes every week.
But everything was different now. The goblins had workers' unions, prisoners demanded rights and you had fill out forms for even the slightest bit of evil.
"Alright" he said. "I will hire some more goblins, and I'll even have you tortured, okay?"
"No, we have more complaints. It's about this whole evil thing."
"What, exactly, is wrong with evil?" Said the blood mage in the tones of one who has been killing people all his life and plans to continue this state of affairs.
"It's just that we can't see how it helps us. I mean, how are we supposed to fit into modern society if we cling to old beliefs?"
"Like using stone weapons when we could use iron..."
"And trying to kill everyone we see..."
"Lazying around all day…"
"Actually, we could keep that last one…"
"Alright!" Shouted the mage, throwing up his hands. "But you're evil henchmen, what else can you be?"
This seemed to be a new question to the goblins, who hadn't thought that far.
"Err, garden gnomes?" One said hopefully.
The others looked at him.
"Just a thought" he mumbled.
"We could use a pension plan"
"Waste of paper. You get slaughtered every time a hero comes by anyway" the blood mage pointed out.
"That's another thing. We want a safer job environment."
"Doesn't sound like it" said the wizard, not quite under his breath. The goblin heard it.
"Hah, that's just the thing I expected to hear from a old mage like you. That's so Dark Ages. You must be ready to grasp the new ideas of the 13th century!"
"This is the 14th century, you idiot! And the only thing that's going to be grasped around here is your neck!"
The goblins stood up angrily, and headed for the door.
"I'll deliver a complaint to EMU for this" one of them shouted over its shoulder. "You won't get a goblin to work for you ever again!"
"And good riddance" said the blood mage. Traditionally, an evil wizard could have either goblins or stupid humans as guards, but thanks to the bloody education system sufficiently stupid people were hard to find. They turned their talents to politics.
His faithful servant Marrow sidled in. As befits a servant of evil he was hawk nosed and thin, dressed all in black. He wore a leather skullcap.
"Has the workers gone, Master?"
"Yes, Marrow, they have gone. Any other matters that demands my attention?"
"The society for animal rights have put in a complaint," said Marrow, glancing down at a piece of paper. "They say that your Hell Hounds don't get enough fresh air, and that they should be walked."
"They do know that Hell Hounds would viciously savage anyone who tried to take them for a walk?"
"Possibly. They say that dogs have feelings too."
"I know they've got feelings. I just don't think they have any beyond hatred and mindless violence," said the blood mage. "Anything else?"
"The hero's guild has been complaining. Apparently, one of their members got hurt."
The dark wizard gave him a look. "I'm an evil mage, what do they expect?"
"I know, I know, it's just that some of the new ones are a bit green. They think they can walk in and be known in song and stories."
"Well, I have never listened to heroes and I won't start now."
"His family just sued you."
"Damn. How was he hurt?"
"He got his finger caught in the door."
"And how much do they want?"
"I have the sum here somewhere…" He shifted trough his stack of paper. "Here it is: Fifty thousand in medical bills and half a million for the emotional trauma."
"Oh, good grief…"
"And there's more, master" Marrow went on, in the calm way of one who can quit his job if everything goes to Hell.
"The feminists have complained. You know how you chain up fair maidens in the dungeons to attract heroes?"
The blood mage put his head in his hands. He had a feeling he knew where this was going.
"They say it's stereotyping. They demand that at least some of the damsels in distress should be male. Of course, I say some, they say all."
The wizard hadn't moved. I could have been a tax gatherer, he thought. I could have been a plumber or a lawyer, but no, I had to be an evil dark lord, didn't I? He straightened up.
"Alright, this is what we'll do. We tell the feminists that we will agree if they find heroines to save them, we sue the hero's guild for two million for break in and entry and tell those dog lovers that they can walk the Hell Hounds themselves."
Marrow nodded. "It will be a great saving in dog food."
"Have there been any answers to my job opening."
"Yes sir. I will send the first in immediately."
Marrow exited through a hidden panel in the wall.
The trouble was that the society of blood mages (The Brotherhood of Blood) had suffered severe drawbacks. Once, the most powerful blood mages would gather to pool together their strength and make the world shake in fear. Now they gathered in board meetings. New procedures and forms came up every time, even if the current Supreme Master (Mad lord McCutthroat) had promised a paperless office if he got elected. It made you despair.
But there was one new motion he approved of.
He looked at the newcomer.
It wasn't just the ram's head or the mouth full of fangs, nor was it the fact that you couldn't tell where the skin ended and the bone began. It wasn't just the axe or the human skulls on the shoulders that made this creature such a frightening and clearly evil being.
It was the CV.
"I see you have dealt with demons," the blood mage said.
"That is correct."
"And you do have some good references." He looked down at the page, where unspeakable names were written, some of which were trying to crawl off the page and rip his eyes out.
"Including Death himself, I see."
"It was a rewarding partnership," said the thing pokerfaced. It didn't have a choice, since its face was partly made from bone.
"How are you with people?"
"I terrorise them and kill them in horrid ways."
"Good, good… Do you have a lot of patience?"
"Any questions about the job?" He could almost see wheels turning inside the things mind, sharp and evil…
"Where are you going with this?" It said at last.
"I mean, an evil castle, yes, but what are your long term goals?"
"Well, next year I will ally with some friends of mine and rise an army of evil, covering the lands in eternal darkness." That is, he thought, if the bloody Brotherhood doesn't decide that it would make life harder for those new in the business. The thing nodded.
"Sounds like a neat concept. Is special clothing required?"
"Its more of a come as you are, really."
"And this job, would I be allowed to menace people until they forget the very reason they are here?"
"It's in your job description."
"Then I take it."
The wizard stood up. He was about to shake the thing by its paw, until he remembered that such an action would probably leave him with a lot less fingers. He kept his hands by his side.
"Welcome to you job as head of the Complaints department."
(A/N) Well, that's the first chapter. If I get some reviews I might write the next part ("when demons get voice mail") although I might do that anyway. But reviews would be nice all the same.