Demando wishes he were lucky enough to be the ruler of a barren wasteland. But Nemesis is anything but barren. Barren implies docility, implies submissiveness, implies that something has been tamed. And Nemesis is anything but tame.
The land itself, rocky and jutting out like mountains of razor blades is blacker than the heavy, oppressing night. They are too far away from any sun or star to differentiate between the night and day. There are no picturesque sunrises, no romantic sunsets, and certainly no moon to give them any sort of comfort. In the beginning, it drove some men to madness.
They have managed to simulate the changing hours by bonfires strategically placed around the capital city. They don't know exactly what they're burning. They call it Nemesian Coal, but it smells like sulfur. In the beginning, children would cry and women would retch at the stench.
Nemesis is always cold. The fires may keep them warm, but should some fool venture out to the shadow lands, beyond the boundaries of the city, they will easily die of exposure. If the nameless creatures no living man had ever seen didn't feast on them first. In the beginning, reckless teenagers used to wander out there to be daring or to impress someone not worth impressing.
But the endless darkness, the bone-chilling cold, the unknown demons that prowl their borders... Nothing is worse than the rain. It strikes without warning, without reason, and without mercy. The closest thing they can associate it with is acid rain. The rain mars skin, burns out eyes, seeps into people through open orifices and eats them from the inside out. In the beginning, the people feared the rain. They still do.
Demando is in his palace, looking out at his violent, jagged kingdom. He watches as the rain falls, hitting the stone of his palace and hissing as it hits. The stones of the buildings have been enchanted with the Wiseman's magic, but he cannot stop the rain. He cannot even predict it, sage as he is. Only the actions of people are open to his sight. Weather he cannot control.
Demando narrows his eyes, fingers digging into pale fabric on pale arms. When she had exiled him, the Queen had assured him that Nemesis was perfectly inhabitable. She had smiled at him as she exiled him, looked him in the eyes, and told him that he and his followers would be safe from all harm. They had nothing to fear from her.
He knew that she had believed that.
Just like he knew that Mercury had not met his eyes, that Jupiter had looked at him with open fury, that Mars had stood resolute at Venus's side as both showed nothing but frigid apathy...
And Endymion. Endymion had been nothing but hatred. Complete and violent hatred. The sort his wife would never have recognized had she turned to look at him standing behind her, hands on her shoulders, the closeness between them forced, possessive, a bitter reminder from one true leader to another that the king had what the rabble rouser wanted... And Demando would never have her.
Demando's fingers dug in deeper. He knew that those five had known. He knew who had suggested it, who had been resolute, who had been doubtful, and who had wanted Demando to suffer more than any human being had ever suffered before. So they sent them here so that Demando could watch his people writhe in torment while he sat helpless, tormented, and exiled.
And they said he was the villain.