Legend Of Lord Saruga

“Humans are fine creatures, curious and intelligent, passionate and brave. I could go on.” Lord Saruga always enjoyed describing the tasty virtues of his meals, often to his meals, before devouring them. Such was the boon of a captive audience. The poor captive could not speak back, because Saruga had first cut out and eaten the human’s tongue. This ceremonial first step explained Lord Saruga’s sudden eloquence as he prepared his sacrifices. The body parts he ate nourished him. A tongue gave speech, an eye clear vision, and a hand dexterity. “And how do we know all this?” he would turn and ask his fellow lizardfolk.

He had trained all of them to reply in unison with him, “Because we can taste it!”

To be fair, Lord Saruga was a lizardfolk. These reptilian creatures are known savages. Eating the portions of a foe’s body was as natural to them as breathing underwater or swatting a fly with their tail.

Lord Saruga was no ordinary lizardfolk, however. He wore fine clothes: mink robes, silk shirts, and gherkins and boots made from the finest dragon hide. Lest one thinks he was all spectacle and no power, he conjured spirits of the night to drive his carriage, fill his golden goblet, and turn his canopy bed. Most inordinate of all, Lord Saruga was exceedingly racist, beyond even the most grotesque and self-absorbed monsters and men of yore. Even though he was a lizardfolk, he adored humans above all else—their soft pink skin and deep wondering eyes—and he despised his own kind.

“Beloved muck-dwelling followers,” he would preach to the other lizardfolk, “these humans have been our nemeses for centuries, but no more.” No matter the crowd size or phase of the moon, the cantankerous lizardfolk would yell agreements in the humid night air and pound their spears with battle lust. “But I tell you,” he added, “our ancient warriors did not merely kill their prey, they ate them. Most of us were but tadpoles in the grime then. And now we enjoy huts, spears, and live food! Let us now rejoice!”

What lizardfolk could resist nodding in agreement? Then a ghostly spirit of the night, a lizardfolk warrior of ages past, would descend upon Lord Saruga and speak through him. Saruga’s pebbly skin would quiver with goose bumps, his hands would fall open limply with palms up, and his eyes would roll inside his head.

“Who else could be so confident?” Some in the crowd would murmur in awe.

In but a few years, village after village of lizardfolk followed him. Some lizardfolk made pilgrimages to his ever-growing temple, while others joined his warband horde, slapping their tails eagerly for battle.

At last, the day came when Lord Saruga felt his folk were growing too restless to contain. “On the next empty moon,” he declared, “I shall lead our warriors across the great river during the night, to bring home to us a great feast. And after this we shall be so enlightened as to build a new, golden temple.”

The warriors gathered by the thousands. Lord Saruga feasted heavily the days before, to clear his mind; in doing so, he foresaw the need to hide the horde’s fires, to lay out patterns of attack by angles and waves, and to send to the humans false merchants who would sell their soldiers intoxicating wine to be used on a human holiday the day before. Lord Saruga smiled. All was good. His stomach gurgled and his forked tongue licked his moist red lips in hungry anticipation.

Finally, the night of the empty moon came, and his warriors swam under the river’s waters and emerged to strike the humans. Ghostly night spirits cloaked Lord Saruga’s warriors with invisibility magic, and the brain of a wizard that Saruga had saved for this night allowed him to speak to all of his generals at once from a distance, as if mind-to-mind.

The humans were utterly unprepared. Many ran screaming in their nightgowns but even the dense forest could not hide them from the keen noses of their new lizardfolk masters.

The raid took the entire town, truly a small city, and the warriors and their mates and hatchlings ate voraciously for seven days without stopping. Even then, half the captive humans stood naked and shivering in wooden pens, “waiting impatiently” to be eaten.

Alas, what Lord Saruga did not foresee was that among his generals, some might become—by a chance meal perhaps— more intelligent than he was. In addition, if only one of these generals also possessed more ambition…. Lord Saruga did not know what hit him. Perhaps it was a spear point, a dagger, or a crossbow bolt. It was hard to discern due to the poison poured earlier into his food by a rival.

“Traitors,” he hissed. However, it was far too late. His enlightened, ambitious generals fell upon him, all saliva and teeth, flailing tails and shredding talons. Bloody bits of Lord Saruga’s fine robes and olive skin flew up and out upon the muddy earth.

To this day, lizardfolk say Lord Saruga still lives, a piece of him in each and all of them.

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