[Note: Book One of Melody and the Pier to Forever is FREE for a short time in order to celebrate the impending release of the fifth novel in the series, The Angel's Guardian! Download Book One today and catch up!]
The Emperor of Aquanus surveyed his world. He had a little time yet: the Mephastophians in the Audience Chamber would be completing their cleaning chores in just a little while. A fresh batch of souls would be packed in for him soon after, and he’d descend again and feast.
Necrolius Anaxagorius sighed, feeling a deep, cold satisfaction suffuse him. The heavy clouds overhead seemed to rush on, as if afraid to disturb his peace. Their shadows shifted the light that played over his keep in a manner that accented its terrible beauty to the greatest effect; he hoped the long lines marching into the Audience Chamber saw it too, and that it enhanced their mortal terror. For terror spiced their souls just so, like pepper sprinkled over a favorite dish, and it increased his appetite as well. And he enjoyed being hungry. He had noticed long ago that the hungrier he was, the more efficient his empire ran, the more terrified of him his subjects were, the more compliant they were. And so he’d ordered his mighty dreadnoughts to return to port only once a month, in order that he’d be starving by the time they docked, in order that his patience and anger traversed a razor-thin edge for weeks prior. For fear was the greatest motivator, and no one inspired more fear than he, their exalted emperor.