This isn’t goodbye. Not really. I’ve tried that before and somehow or other I end up back here. I just don’t have the creative spark right now. I had hoped that forcing myself to publish something once a week all last year would help me be excited about writing again, have it be less of struggle to get that Wednesday post out there… and some months it worked, but most months I had to force myself to publish something I wasn’t always happy with just to meet the deadline.
So, I’m giving myself a break.
If I follow you I will still read your posts and comment and support your writing as I have always tried to do. The desire to read your words has never faded. You are all amazing.
And now that I’ve written this I will likely pop up once a week anyway just to prove myself wrong.
Most of King Regglind’s faithfuls had proved anything but, pledging allegiance to her before his funeral had even occurred. All who showed up were slaughtered anyway. The trap had been set. She was going to spring it regardless of who had sworn loyalty to who. Her advisors had disagreed but she had forged ahead anyway. In her mind, their loyalty wasn’t worth much if they would switch to her side so easily.
After the funeral she had marched with her troops and, shining as bright as the noon day star in their sky, had led them to victory after victory until the whole of the continent succumbed to her rule. Then, and only then, did she finally heed her advisors and take a break from war. She spent five years ruling the continent. She was fair and protective of all of her new subjects. She ruled so well that she won all their hearts and minds, she was their brilliant shining queen. They would fight for her on any front. They would carry her purpose to the next phase.
Ships, yellow as their star, yellow as her sigil, were built on the western shores. The fastest of them were sent on with her blessings and protections to spread the word: she was coming and all would bow to her before she was done. That was her purpose. That was her ultimate goal.
When her ship was ready, she set sail immediately. It was a beautiful day. Their star was shining and she cast the spell that made her shine brightly too. The sea reflected and amplified the competing lights until it looked her ship was a star too, crossing the sea as a ball of radiating fire. She loved every minute of it.
The five years of patience had been hard on her. She didn’t mind ruling. She wanted to be a god and that meant she had to be there for her people. She enjoyed that part of it. Being patient to continue on her quest had been difficult. She could feel how close she was to her goal and it called to her constantly. Why pause? Why wait? Your glory is just beyond the horizon. Your immortality is there waiting for you to seize it.
The seas were calm. Her spirit sored. Her troops adored her.
As she looked to the horizon she knew it was only a matter of time before she had everything.
Rising from her throne she walked towards the inert body of King Regglind. He wasn’t dead, yet. She knew that. She hadn’t hit him with the full force of her might. As she drew closer she said, “I have a rule in battle. No mercy. No survivors. It has served me while on the path to my glory, to my ultimate purpose. I’m tempted to send you home beaten and battered though, to dishearten your troops. I think they might be easier to beat that way. If I martyr you, they will likely fight against me with more energy, tooth and nail, to the very last man.”
Smoke drifted up from the burn marks on his body. Slowly, he rolled over onto his back so he could look at her. He said nothing but his eyes spoke volumes. His piercing gaze was unafraid for himself, but furious for his people, furious for what was about to befall his kingdom. His breathing was ragged and shallow. His face white.
“A rule is a rule though, especially when it was made to myself. Besides, there’s no telling what your people will decide to do when you do not return.”
She held his gaze as she spoke the single word of magic that would end his life. The spark and fury went from his eyes in an instant.
Turning to her advisor she said, “Kill his retinue waiting outside. No mercy. No survivors.” Then she turned first to her throne, shook her head, and strode across the hall to the table where her maps were. One of her generals was already there studying King Regglind’s kingdom anew. The fool of a king had made a mistake in thinking she would hold to some code of honor. Now they could capitalize on that and advance her plans that much quicker.
Soon the whole continent would be in her grasp. Then she would build glorious yellow ships, the color of their star, and sail the seas to conquer the other continents. Then she would rule the whole of the world. Then she would be a god.
Smiling already, her smile broadened as her advisor returned to say the task had been completed. “Summon a messenger.”
She would cast a spell of protection over the messenger and speed him along to King Regglind’s court, inviting all to attend the king’s funeral services in four days time. They would be fools to come. But their king had proved to be a fool so maybe she could catch some more of his warriors in a trap.
King Regglind, resplendent in purple and silver silks, but with a simple gold crown on his head and well-worn scabbard at his side, strode into her thrown room. His steps were confident. His head was high. His eyes were a piercing blue.
The herald had to nearly shout to be heard over the King’s ringing bootfalls, “King Regglind, your majesty.”
She studied his approach, still trying to decode what his plan was, why he had decided to come in person and request this audience with her. As he came to a halt a few paces away she said, “Welcome, King Regglind. What can I do for you on this fine day?”
Before answering he studied his surroundings, taking in the various courtesans and advisors, generals and other members of court scattered about the large throne room. Then he let his left hand rest on the hilt of his sword while sweeping the room with his right. “I was surprised they let me in to see you with my sword. I see you are well protected, now, though.”
The sarcasm in his voice was not lost on her but she chose to ignore it. Let him think she wasn’t well protected. Let him think she needed the people around her.
“I will admit,” she said a moment later, “ that I was surprised by your visit.”
“Yes, well,” he half grunted, half growled, “I never send someone to do a job like this. It’s unpleasant. It could be messy. And it’s got to be done right.”
“And what job is that?” She arched her eyebrows as she asked, glad they weren’t wasiting time on pleasantries and getting straight to the reason for his visit.
“If you attempt to invade my kingdom again, you will lose everything.”
She nearly laughed. This threat couldn’t possibly be all he had come for. He had to have more.
“King Regglind, I do believe you are mistaken. When I next breach your borders I will conquer your kingdom and it will be you who loses everything.”
He attempted to draw his sword but scowled and swore as he found his hand unable to left the blade form the scabbard. It was a simple enough charm she had placed upon the throne room years before. No weapons could be unsheathed in the room.
“In fact, she continued, I’m fairly certain you are about to lose everything right now. You were a fool to come here.”
“You wouldn’t dare attack me like this,” he spat. “It breaks all the rules of honor.”
“There are not rules between mortals and immortals,” she replied calmly. “For what I’m after, there is no room for honor.” Then turning to her advisor she said, “And yet another advantage of killing all our advisories, there is no one left alive to take back the information that I’m a magic user.”
“Very wise, “Ma’am,” her advisor returned.
Pointing her right hand at King she spoke the words to her second favorite spell. Lightning raced from her finger tips and slashed into the King. His body went flying backwards in a tumbling heap of limbs and clothes. His crown skittered across the floor to come to a stop near the entrance.
Continuing on with one of the song lyric prompts I wrote in November, this month I’m sharing a bit more I’ve written for it. Enjoy!
“King Regglind is requesting an audience.”
She looked up from the battle maps she’d been studying in surprise. “He’s here?”
Her advisor nodded once.
Pushing back from the table she closed her eyes in thought. Was this a trap? Was King Regglind foolish enough to actually come in person, to so easily get within her grasp? Could he possibly have a bargaining chip that would allow him safe passage back to his kingdom? She didn’t have great answers to any of these questions.
For months she had been attacking his borders hoping to provoke him to come out and face her. The King hadn’t taken the bait, though. Disappointed but not deterred from her purpose, she had pulled back her troops to squash a smaller nearby kingdom. One of the few small kingdoms still free of her control. She had stormed their borders and easily wiped aside the small force that had been raised to stand against her. Soon the rest would fall and then only her own growing kingdom and Regglind’s would remain on the continent. Once she had full control, then she could look across the seas.
But why had Regglind come in person. To try and talk her out of her plans? To ask for mercy? Her lips twitched at the thought. There would be no mercy if that’s what he was after. That felt wrong though. King Regglind was a strong and honorable leader. His people loved him. He would not hand them over. He would not give up his kingdom without some kind of fight. That was her guess. She was very confident in it. So what was his play today? Why come in person?
He must have some kind of leverage. What could that be, though? She had no personal attachments. She had no secret past that could be exploited. Her people knew who she was, who she had always been, and what her ultimate purpose was.
Sighing, she opened her eyes and addressed her advisor. “Show him in. Let’s hear what he thinks he has up his sleeves.”