Thursday, 6 March 2014

Short Story

The Dark Queen Rises

Avangrey, my domain, my home. I can see its expanse for miles from this tower. This is my sanctuary, my haven, where I find peace from the burdens of my crown. Rising more than sixty feet, it is the tallest of the six towers connecting the inner walls of my castle, giving me a clear view of all that is mine. From here I can cast a watchful eye on the servants scurrying about their duties within the inner ward, the soldiers training in the outer ward, and those patrolling the battlements of the thick walls that protected me from outside dangers.

Further past the dark water of the murky moat that surrounds those walls lie the rolling fields and village of Avangrey. The land stretches for miles pass mountains, lakes and cliffs before it finally meets the northern border and the Kingdom of Tou beyond. My eyes scan the western horizon and the thick tall trees of MonRok Forest in the distance pass which is the Kingdom of Kraig. To the east was the never ending desserts of the Wastelands, a dry and deadly barrier between my kingdom and the Kingdom Sim Ra. The monster infested waters of Argon Sea to my back separate Raule from Avengrey. The five kingdoms of Talvan, Avangrey my home, Tou, Kraig, Sim Ra and Raule. Soon they would all be mine. 

"My Queen we have found it." 

My thoughts are interrupted by the grizzly voice of Lord Rowan, my captain of the guards. I take a breath and one last look at my kingdom before turning my full attention to him. With a hurried gait I approach, eager to see that he hasn't failed me. I wouldn't be happy if he did, nor forgiving. The expression on his face said little, always stoic. The small wooden box he held out to me was nondescript, except for the small golden latch that sealed its contents from the outside world. I recognize the ruin symbols carved into the cold metal, placed there by a very powerful but long dead witch to prevent it from being opened by mortal hands.  I could feel my heart rate spike and a small smile curves my lips. I can barely contain my elation. 

At last

I reach for the box and savoury the feel of the wood against my skin. The force of the ancient power radiating from every grain of the timber makes my flesh tingle. I am so close to my goal. Perched in the palms of my hands, I lift the container close to my lips and whisper a few ancient words to the latch. A spell just for this lock, to demand it to release its contents to me. The small click of the latch freeing itself echoes though the silent chamber and I realized I had been holding my breath, not at all sure the spell would work, and even more uncertain that my prize was inside. Slowly I flip the lid open, and I feel that small smile widen to near jubilation. 

"Bring her to me." 

I hear my captain retreating from the chamber, but my attention is fixated on the object before me. I reach in and pull out the gem within. It's beautiful. Even more than I'd imagined. It was no bigger than my fist, fitting comfortably within the palm of my hand. The smooth edges of stone caught the light, and the blood red colour contrast sharply with the paleness of my skin. I stare spellbound at this treasure that I'd worked so tirelessly to obtain, that I'd sacrificed so much for. Soon it will all be mine. The box, it's worthless and I toss it to the floor. It ignites before it can hit the cool marble bursting into flames at my silent command.

I'm unsure how long I stood there, just staring. Time was lost to me. Soon my captain was back with her in tow. I keep my back to her, but raise the jewel so the light could stream through it. She says nothing and her silence means little to me. I know she understands what this means. 

"Beautiful isn't it?" I ask not really expecting or wanting an answer. With a flick of my wrist the stone disappears, hidden now by my magic. 

"Put an end to this before it is too late," she pleads. 

The lyrical tone of her voice grates on my nerves. I have always hated the soft sing-song way she spoke. I turn to face her stealing myself again the flood of chaotic emotions I always feel when near her. Anger, inferiority, longing, love, hate. I search her heart shaped face remembering everything I've grown to hate about her. Her golden locks cascade down her face and pass her shoulders in thick waves. Even now, after her imprisonment every strand was meticulously in place. Those innocent blue eyes of hers, a mirror image of my own, stared back at me with a mix of sorrow and something else. Something I couldn't name. 

"Now why would I want to do that?" I ask. Why indeed when I am on the verge of having everything I've ever wanted? Why would I give it all up now? 

"This is wrong and you know it," she says. "The five kingdoms where never meant to be ruled as one."

"They will be," I say correcting her misguided beliefs, "under my rule. And now that I have the power of Lothar's Heart no one will oppose me."

"You cannot hope to wield such power, it will destroy you."

"I am much more powerful than you think Merida." I smile at that admission. How little she now knew me. The things I've done, the magic I've acquired to reach this point. "And with your help I will be unstoppable."


"Enough!" I grow tired of her lecture. It's been this way all our lives. Merida the perfect, Merida the good, Merida the pure. Merida could do no wrong, while me, everything I do is wrong. I give a slight nod to my captain and he grabs her by the arms restraining her. My magic never did work on her, but then again neither did hers on me. After today, everything will be different. She would no longer be a match for me. Lord Rowan forces her over to the table and she doesn't struggle. Instead she looks at me with those pleading blue eyes of hers and after years of resentment it has become easy to turn a blind eye to it. I grab hold of her hand and extend it over the gold chalice that sat alone in the centre of the small round table. Through a cloud of black smoke a dagger appears in my free hand and before she could react I slice her upturn palm. The blood rushes from her and spills into the chalice. The blood of a white witch, together with the essence of an immortal beast, and my own blood, my magic will know no equal. 

The gem stone, the petrified heart of a dragon now crystallized, reappears in my hand in another cloud of smoke and I crush it into a fine powder. The red dust slides though my fingers into the chalice blending into the blood. I raise the cup while speaking the enchantment that would give me eternal life and never ending power and with the last word spoken, the liquid turns black before settling back to red. 

"Mimi don't." 

For a second the familiar nickname gives me pause and I'm transported to a time when we were sisters, real sisters. When I would have done anything to protect her. Before this wedge was driven between us and I had become so bitter towards her. I shake off the unwelcomed memory and lift the chalice slightly towards her. 

"To you dear sister." I toast. "I could never I've seen this day without you." 

With that I swallow.

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