Prologue

In the beginning, we were primitive. Savages who had barely harnessed fire, we used stone tools to butcher animals, and each other. We made war upon one another, for we did not know that a greater horror was coming.

It happened one day, long ago, that the Beasts came down from the stars. They killed us with weapons that belched fire and rendered us unable to move or even speak with what seemed like a godlike control over lightning. Then they rounded us up like animals and herded us into their great starship, and took us away from the world of our birth, never to return. Ignorant as we were, we thought them demons.

On the ship, we were slaves. We were made to learn certain skills, in order to be more valuable when we were sold. We were beaten and tortured for being defiant. We were killed for not learning well enough. Our language was not allowed, and we had to learn the hellish, twisted tongue of our captors.

And then, the gods interfered on our behalf.

The ship, bound for some unknown world in order to deliver us to our new masters, was caught by a vortex in space. For a small eternity we were sucked through, dropping like a stone through water until at last we were spewed into the other side.

The ship was damaged. Many people and many of the Beasts died, and that is how we learned that they could be killed. The Beasts managed to land the ship on a planet, and there was our salvation. They needed us to grow the food so that they, and we, might live. They needed us to harvest the metals used to create alloys - an endeavor that took two generations. They needed us to labor on the ship and repair it. They needed us to help them fly it. We learned what we could, we repaired the ship. We pretended to be docile and obedient slaves. We increased in number, and we bided our time.

And when the time was right, when the Beasts believed that we were well and truly domesticated, when they trusted us to watch over them as they slept, we rose up and slaughtered every Beast, down to the last. Their starship was ours. Their knowledge was ours. And now… now the stars are ours as well. We, who once subsisted on foraging and killing, who once believed that gods and demons ruled with capricious disregard, were the masters of our own fate.

We learned our lesson well, and never again have we allowed beasts or demons to wield dominion over us. Never again have we allowed ourselves the luxury of complacency. We are the masters now, and demons bow to us… or die.