He pushes the warriors forward and their tiny horns lock together. Miniature clay Kal-i-kra stand resolute as they are slaughtered almost to the last by the Gozor assault. All seems lost, but the chieftain was wise to sacrifice his tribesmen, for it gave the cavalry time to move on the Gozor flank. The warbeasts charge, and with a sweep of his arm the Gozor are scattered. A great victory!
He lines up the surviving Gozor to await their punishment. He lets them beg for mercy, but there can be only one fate for those who oppose him. He takes a stone and smashes it down on the Gozor heads, one by one. Fragments fly across the room as they are crushed to powder. He laughs.
'You should take better care of your toys,' rumbles the deep voice of his tutor. 'Now the servants will have to make you new ones.'
Bandos doesn't care. They're his and he can do what he wants with them.
He stands before the funeral pyre in the centre of the village, thick copper plating over his body, dried blood still covering his horn. The warriors in the foreground tower over young Bandos, but his gaze is strong and his tone brooks no dissent.
'My father is dead. Since the spear of a cowardly Gozor struck him down from afar we have been ruled by a sickened cripple. With my own horn, I have given him the honourable death he should have received in battle.'
His voice sounds strong, echoing back over the village from the surrounding hills.
'The Gozor are not deserving of such honour. We will bring death to all of them, and when the last of them has died screaming, we will bring it to every other tribe on this continent. The name of the Kal-i-kra and its chieftain will be spoken with dread!
The young chieftain shouts instruction, and the warriors hold against the charge, horns locking with the enemy. Weary from a dozen battles, they nonetheless stand resolute as the Gozor tear into them. As more and more Kal-i-kra fall, and corpses pile on corpses, the day seems lost.
But Bandos smiles from the hill atop the battlefield. On the other side, hidden from the Gozor, are his war engines. Great frames of wood and sinew - hauled by hand across the plains - strain under the weight of the mighty boulders they bear. With the Gozor forces pinned in place by the rapidly depleting battle line, Bandos roars the order and the engines let fly.
The rocks crash down on the Gozor, crushing bone and mashing flesh. They strike indiscriminately, but the lives of the Kal-i-kra mean nothing compared to victory. With the bulk of the Gozor line destroyed, the ensuing cavalry charge is little more than a formality, and the enemy are routed.
Afterward, they bring him the Gozor chieftain in chains. Bandos stands before him and pronounces judgement. 'I have beaten you,' proclaims the young warlord, and brings his mace down on the Gozor's skull.
The Hada-i-dar tribe are the last on the continent to fall, and Bandos slumps in their chieftain's throne, alone in the longhouse. Outside, he can hear his companions crashing through nearby houses, looting and pillaging. If he didn't need them, he would be rid of them.
He has reached the end of the earth. What is next? To cross the great water and conquer whatever peoples lie on the other side?
He sees something. Hiding in the corner of the room is the chieftain's young son. Bandos drags him into the light. 'Great one,' mewls the calf, 'Spare me and I will tell you a great secret.'
'Speak, and I will judge its value,' commands Bandos.
'Our world is kept safe by the great god Jododu Otoku.'
'I know our myths, runt. They are of no use to me.'
Then the calf tells him of a group of mystic nomads that visit the Hada-i-dar on occasion: a group known as the Caretakers of Jododu Otoku, who supposedly know where the god can be found.
Leaving the crushed corpse of the calf adorning the longhouse, Bandos summons his companions and sets out immediately into the night.
Bandos sits on an overturned cart as the leader of the nomads is thrown at his feet. He is old - appallingly so - and he looks up at Bandos with white, glazed eyes set in a cratered face. Bandos prods him with a copper boot, 'Where is your god?'
Even with his face in the dust, the nomad's voice is firm. 'He is your god as well, young conqueror. What business do you have with him?'
'I know our stories. More specifically, I know the story of how Jododu Otoku became a god.'
'You cannot mean...' The nomad pales. 'No! Even for you, that is unthinkable!'
Bandos brings his face closer. 'Tell me where he sleeps!'
'You will never find him!'
The nomad lunges upwards, and Bandos - who sees the old one as no threat - is caught off guard. The old one's horn pierces Bandos's eye. Enraged, the chieftain casts the nomad to the ground and brings his mace down on his head.
'Interrogate them - find Jododu Otoku.'
The vast, sleeping body of Jododu Otoku fills the cavern. Bandos's servants have erected crude gantries around the god's body, and huge chains secure him. Now Bandos stands on the craggy face between the two great, lidless eyes. He raises his pike to strike, but a voice like thunder stops him.
'What are you doing, little creature?'
He looks around, but none of the others have heard it. The voice is in his head.
'Little creature, my body sleeps but my mind is awake. This world is my world. It floats in an ocean filled with great stones, and it is only my divine will that keeps them from striking us. Without me, life cannot exist here.' Bandos ignores the voice. He raises the pike higher for a single, devastating thrust.
'Little creature, you do not know what you are doing. If you kill me, you kill every living thing on this planet. They will all die. You will be alone on this world.'
Bandos smiled. 'Old god, I know exactly what I am doing.' He strikes. 'And there will be other worlds!'
Jododu Otoku screams in his head, but the pain is nothing compared to what wracks Bandos's body. Power streams from the old god, suffusing Bandos, warping him from the inside out. The cavern shakes and crumbles, but he grows vast and impervious - born anew - and rises easily to the surface.
Bandos emerges from the ground just as the first meteorites strike the surface. All around him he sees destruction on a scale he had never imagined. Firestorms sweep the plains, followed by a choking black darkness as the sky fills with dust. It is glorious!
Within an hour, he is the only living thing on the planet. Everything that he has conquered, everything that he has not, is dust.
He knows that it is time to leave this world. Now...how does this work?
Yu'biusk's people are savages, more backward than even the most primitive tribes of his homeworld. They hunt and gather with barely-worked tools of stone. When they fight, it is in meagre groups without strategy or finesse. Pathetic. They don't even have a warrior class.
These creatures need civilisation. They need the technology and society to support larger populations so they can form armies, and an industry capable of manufacturing weapons. Most of all, they need a compelling reason to fight. He has much work ahead of him.
The ruler of Yu'biusk gestures with his hand, and his armies advance on each other. Frenzied small-breeds hack at each other even as their kinsmen fall, two waves of sword-studded flesh breaking against one another. Big-breeds enter the fray, wading through the smalls and knocking them aside. The northern alliance are using their bigs in a frontal assault, smashing through the middle of the southern ranks, while the southern alliance are using theirs in a flanking manoeuvre. Bandos lounges in his granite throne, waiting to see which tribe will prevail.
The southern tactic is successful. The northern army lies smashed, and the southern army descends on their city to pillage. A glorious battle! Bandos sits back, satisfied, and begins planning his next entertainment.
There are others like him: beings of immense power, who rule the lesser by right of that power. They mostly leave one another alone, and Bandos is content to ignore them as long as they respect his ownership of Yu'biusk.
There is one world, easy to reach from here, but protected by a powerful guardian. He has seen no need to revisit it in the past, but now he hears mighty cries and the clash of battle coming from it. The other gods have come to that world and are battling over it. There is no sign of the guardian.
Bandos is bored here anyway. He gathers his armies and prepares to conquer Gielinor.
The war god points, and ork sergeants herd frenzied goblins into the blades of the Saradominists. Humans and icyene and centaurs may be taller and smarter, but they can still die as easily and the goblins are much more easily replaced.
The goblins do eventually falter, but then he sends in the orks, his heavy infantry, who march over the bodies of their smaller kin to engage the exhausted humans. From the rear lines the ourgs hurl massive boulders into the humans. He has found living siege engines to be far more effective than wooden ones. An hour later his victorious army leads the surviving humans away in chains.
This war has been the perfect test for his breeding program. From the near useless stock of the native Yu'biuskans he has created half a dozen specialised military breeds which gives him a great advantage against the primarily human armies of the other gods. Soon he will rule over two worlds.
The world's guardian was not gone, only sleeping. Now he has awoken, and he stands in Bandos's throne room looking fragile and scrawny. Bandos knows by now not to judge a god by its appearance. This god, this Guthix, has just come from single-handedly stopping a battle between the massed armies of Saradomin and Zamorak.
Guthix's voice is weary and mournful, not befitting a being of such power. 'I have seen what you did to these poor creatures' homeworld.' He gestures at the orks standing guard in the throne room. 'I will not let you repeat this on Gielinor. You will leave this world at once and not return.'
Bandos knows he is beaten, for now. 'I will leave,' he growls. 'Ourgs! Order your vassals to assemble here. Prepare everyone for transport to Yu'biusk.'
The ourgs freeze in place, locked by Guthix's magic. 'No,' the nature god says. 'They are creatures of this world now, and deserve to live free of your interference. You alone will leave.'
Bandos cannot restrain himself. He jumps up and swings his towering mace, intending to dash this puny god's brains out. 'These creatures are MINE and I will do with them as I—'
Guthix raises a hand and Bandos finds himself alone in the void.
The ancient war god roars and trembling armies shuffle towards one another across the ash-strewn plain. In the distance, ruined cities smoulder beneath a sky permanently green with cloud. The generation raised in the shadow of the bombardment is sickly, sometimes mutated. The plague of cowardice is rife, and there are more rebels against his rule than at any time since he first established control of the plane.
Bandos blasts each army's stragglers with fire, prompting the others to move more quickly. The two mobs meet and hack hopelessly at one another until only one remains, reduced to a handful of bleeding wretches.
A pitiful spectacle, barely worthy to be called a battle. Why can these warriors not live up to the glories of their ancestors? He rains fire on the survivors, killing half of them and sending the others scrambling over corpses to escape. He feels anger welling in him, stronger and more enduring than any he was capable of feeling as a mortal. Guthix had no right to deny him his property.
Bandos raises a poisonous mist to finish off the last surviving combatants. One of them raises a feeble hand towards his god, seeking desperately for mercy, but Bandos is unmoved as the last survivor chokes and dies.
They are his toys! And he will smash them if he wants to!
The throne room is still, save for the shifting light cast by Bandos's pool of visions. He hunches on his throne and flicks at the water, conjuring image after image. Yu'biusk's cities lie ruined; its oceans are poisoned; its forests are ash. Bandos is the only thing left.
He makes the pool show him Gielinor, as he has every day since being banished. Guthix's barrier lets him see his creatures, but not reach them. Ogres and hobgoblins have kept to his ways, awaiting only his return. Rebel goblins cower in caves, their potential useless without a commander to lead them. The remaining goblins are at war.
Bandos smashes his fists into the water in frustration. His creatures on Yu'biusk are all gone, and now he can only watch as the ones on Gielinor squabble pointlessly and are gradually driven back by the well-organised humans. Curse the nature god!
The exiled god watches helplessly as his armies advance. Goblins wade through a quagmire, the tribal colours on their armour indistinguishable beneath layers of mud. Three quarters of the goblins who converged on this plain now lie dead, and still no tribe has emerged as victor.
The goblins withdraw to their camps after a day of fighting. Bandos roams the camps with flicks of his pool, desperately searching for some way he can affect events.
He freezes. A goblin runt, who would not be fit to live in Bandos's empire, is looking directly at him. Could it be that this wretch is spiritually sensitive enough to see through Guthix's barrier?
'Goblin!' Bandos shouts at the pool. 'I am your god! Acknowledge me!' The goblin falls to his knees. Bandos claps his hand together eagerly. 'Listen to me, goblin! I will make you my prophet! You are to tell your leaders to stop fighting, and give them this message...'