Death's Rattle: A Tale of a Fallen Queen

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Blind Hemingway

Ancient Iwaku Scum from 2006.
Original poster
Posting Speed
  1. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Douche
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Primarily Prefer Female
Surrealism, Surreal Horror (Think Tim Burton), Steampunk, Sci-Fi Fantasy, Spaghetti Westerns, Mercenaries, Dieselpunk, Cyberpunk, Historical fantasies
Episode One: Adeste Fideles

Dare not disturb the order. Things are put into a place on purpose. There things that are placed on the top. There are things that are placed on the bottom. Without this order, things are put into chaos. This is all that I see around me these days.


Oh how I loathe it. While I understand that change is inevitable, why did it have to cost my people so much? Forced into exile and for what? I can see no purpose in this change. I will put everything I have into giving my life and my nation a purpose once again.

We all seek a purpose in life. I once thought that I knew who I was. Until that day, five years ago. Now look at me. I travel around the countryside on horseback with a few supporters driving the foes from my land. This is no life for a queen. But I am the only one that is willing to stand up and fight.

My detractors call me the "Silver Witch." I admit I am rather fond of it. If I were still Mistlyn, I would strike fear in no one. And where is the fun in that?

The people will often ask me why I did what I did. I shall keep you informed of this simple thing. It will be the start of a long term peace that will extend for generations. I will make sure that my people are once again safe and secure. Sometimes force is required to get things done. My own paladins turned on me, because they don't understand why intentions. This makes me sad but rebelling during a time of hardship is a greater sin against society than one can imagine.

My tale shall be one based upon the Storm of a Fire.
Viridiana woke early in the morning, the glimmer of a sunrise only faintly visible on the horizon when she stood up stiffly from her makeshift shelter beneath the boughs of a tree. It had rained in the night, causing more discomfort to her since the chill of the water further added to the complaints of her muscles. A sheen of the rain still clung to her skin and her thin wool clothing was dotted with spots of moisture, creating in her a pit of fear that she rummaged through her rucksack to alleviate.

It was foolish to worry about the brilliant silver necklace getting wet, the light drizzle of water would do no harm to the beautifully crafted metals. Still, the heirloom of her mother's was wrapped in a sheet of cloth that had been reinforced with the water resistant, gummy sap from a tree that grew in more temperate climes. Sadness weighted Viridiana down like a wet blanket as she turned the shimmering jewelry between her fingers, a feeling of loss that grew a little with each link of the chain that she rubbed between her fingers. She had abandoned her parents, left them to their home and taken from them herself, their life's work. She did not know if they were safe, though she assumed they were, and the thoughts made her feel almost like turning back.

As always, she merely wrapped the necklace again, stuffed it into her sack, and kicked aside her crafted bed of pine needles. In a final movement, Viridiana took the small bow and quiver she'd left resting by her head and exited the relative safety of the trees. The world around her was moist, muddy, and gloomy from the precipitation when she began to walk once more. She knew not where she was going, only that her feet felt as though they were being led by instinct or an age old memory.
She simply drifted about the world. She soared over sandy dunes, above fertile oases, the sands shifting to the will of the wind. Kara, too, shifted with the wind's will. Her scarlet hair shined in a passionate warm hue, the rising sun warming the sky to a bright orange. She had begun flying long before the sun was up. She wanted to see more; she wanted to see more of this land that she had never seen before. The pockets of life scattered among the shifting sand fascinated her. Where did they come from? Why is the sunrise so beautiful? She continued to wander, enchanted by what her world offered.
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Dawn soon faded away, the sun's rays intensifying. Kara felt the dry heat of the desert commence as it had done many times before. So this is a desert? Kara's wide eyes noted the seeming endlessness of the sands. The sea of sand continued onward, stretching out into the distant horizon. Soon, the oases faded away as she continued flying, the sky slowly becoming blue.

The temperature climbed quickly. Soon, even the wind around her was not cool enough. Her loose, white dress eventually failed to keep her cool as well. This place is pretty, but it sure is hot! After a few more minutes of flying, however, Kara was relieved. Out of the sands appeared the most beautiful sight. Kara began to descend, seeing what looked like a small area of wild-flowers and grass surrounding a large pond. Soon, she landed next to a patch of wildflowers. The heat was much more intense on the ground than it was in the air, causing her to panic a bit. Wow, I didn't know it was this bad!

Kara rushed towards the pond, only to hear what sounded like a stern voice. She immediately halted, and turned, wondering if somebody else was here, as well.<o:p></o:p>

"Hello?" Kara called out.

"Please leave," a male voice called out from a nearby bush.<o:p></o:p>

"Why? I'm not here to hurt--," Kara was cut off<o:p></o:p>

"We don't have enough to give to random witches; please leave," The voice interrupted Kara.

"O-okay, then, Mr. Bush-person, sir," Kara stuttered, backing away from the pond.

Not wanting to anger the source of the stern stern voice from the bush she carefully walked away from the oasis, making sure not to trample on any of the flowers. She then took off, drifting again among the ever-shifting sea of sand.<o:p></o:p>

"Clover!" a voice barked.

A woman with green hair shot up from a patch of flowers she fell asleep in. She had an argument with her Mother the night before, so she left the village and ended up slumbering in the wilderness. A fuzzy rabbit was curled up on her lap, still sleeping soundly because she knew that next to Clover, she was safe from harm. One of the tall ears flicked to the angry voice, though.

After shaking some stems and petals from her hair, she stood up from the flowers with her rabbit friend in her arms. "Yes, Father?" she asked, hiding her agitation. It annoyed Clover that her parents still treated her like a child. Being the only child certainly did not help...

Clover was the spitting image of her Father. They looked very much alike, and she got along better with him than her Mother. The Faun looked at his daughter with a disappointed look, but did make a sigh, realizing he had to understand her position in life.

"Sweetie, we were worried about you. Please, come home."

"Daddy, I am home. I'm an adult, let me go where I please!" Clover was passionate about the forest she lived in. She helped cultivate it, she made friends with the creatures, she learned new healing techniques and expanded her knowledge on plants.

Still, she felt like she should let her Mother know she was safe and not mad at her anymore. Both of her parents were proud and supportive, but they felt she was lazy. She needed to contribute more to their society instead of daydreaming all day long. The thing was, there was nothing to contribute! Nothing bad ever happened and if someone got sick or injured, she could fix it in seconds.

With the mammal still in her arms, she followed her Father back to their village. She was hungry, anyway.
Dawn found Jaren already awake, his back to the east. He sat against a tree, with his sword across his lap. His sword. One of his few links to the years before the war, before... this. He took meticulous care of the blade, but recently it didn't seem to be enough. It was aging, old. Old before it's time. Much like Jaren.

He quietly pushed himself up off the ground, wiping off his sword one final time before he sheathed it, making his way without hurry to a small stream and splashing his face. Stiff joints grumbled at him as he rose again, slowly letting out a deep breath.

A new day... and what would he have to do on this new day? He did not want to know. But he would know, just as whatever he would have to do, he would do it. Without question and without hesitation, as he swore to do all those years ago.
Benjamin Pierce didn't care for this sort of thing, but then the road to supremacy was rarely an easy one, was it? Surely this was something both he and this "Silver Witch" knew all too well. Great leaders had to make tough decisions and follow through with them, no matter how abhorrent those decisions might be. For instance, Benjamin didn't much enjoy reducing this faye to a sniveling mess, but then this was the price for information. Benjamin had come to accept this, but, so far, information had not been forthcoming. Three raiders, who Benjamin had paid to retrieve this particular faye, the unfortunate faye, tied into a chair, and Benjamin himself were in the cellar of a deserted farmhouse. Their business was of a more discrete nature, after all. The raiders let up on the poor creature, and Benjamin took this opportunity to try again. Benjamin leaned in to look directly into the faye's eyes, but the face was far too swollen. He frowned, cleared his throat carefully, and carried on.

"Come now, is your queen really worth this? I can tell you right now this isn't going to get any easier for you. I don't enjoy this, I know you certainly don't enjoy this, and neither do our friends here," he pleaded. That last part was a lie; he was fairly sure the raiders were enjoying themselves.

The faye stopped whimpering. Scoffing suddenly, he spit bloody spittle into Benjamin's face.

"Ahem, I can't say I didn't deserve that," he admitted, standing straight and wiping his face carefully with a handkerchief, "but this hardly changes things. Now, I've done my research, and I know for a fact that you know something regarding the location of your queen. We'll be at this until you tell us what you know, so spare us all time and yourself more pain and tell us what you know.. now." Benjamin leaned back in, keeping more of a distance this time.

The faye remained perfectly still, then drooped his head, whimpering slightly. Benjamin gave a dry smile; he had been broken at last. The faye sat perfectly still, his chin resting against his chest. Benjamin was just beginning to worry that he had passed out when suddenly he lifted his head and spoke. "The queen... the queen was last sighted just North of Nemeutia, o-one week ago, as far as I've heard. By now, she could be anywhere between Elroot and Nemeutia. Pl-Please that's all I know, I swear!"

Benjamin frowned. If this was really all the man knew, then the queen could be anywhere within a 100-mile radius. This wasn't terribly useful, but it was better then nothing. Benjamin believed the faye. This was all of the information he was going to get.

"Well, that wasn't so hard, was it? Now.. we're done here," he concluded. One of the raiders nodded and raised his mace behind the faye's head. Benjamin motioned for him to stop. "Hold it! Maybe a raider kills a man without looking him in the eyes, but I've a different way of doing things," he snapped. The raider frowned and lowered his mace slowly, a little disappointed. Benjamin drew his own dagger and leaned over the faye in the chair. "Listen, this wasn't easy for any us. You were tough, and I admire you for that... That makes what I have to do that much harder, eh? Unfortunately, I can't trust you to keep quiet about what's transpired here. I'm unpopular enough as it is," he explained. He did his best to speak gently, but the faye was getting visibly upset, wriggling to try and get loose of the ropes. Benjamin wanted him to calm down, but he realized, given the circumstances, that this was unlikely. It would be best for the faye to get this over with quickly. So he took a deep breath, embraced the faye to stop his squirming, and plunged the dagger into his chest. The death was quick. Benjamin held the embrace for a few moments, then withdrew quickly. He stood still awhile longer, silence out of respect for the dead faye. It really wasn't fair, after all. Finally, he turned to the raiders, wiping his bloody dagger with the handkerchief.

"So.. this whore is somewhere between Elroot and Nemeutia, eh? We'll bury our friend here, then we better get moving. We have a lot of ground to cover."
"Has there been any new sightings of the Sword?" Rane asked. Her hair was generally a mess this time of morning but she didn't care, her loyalist officers were used to her causality at meetings. "I am sorry Mistress, but the sword is still missing...Let's face it, Chavvah doesn't wish to be found by us and it is still getting help from that Joshua and his so called Category..."

Rane then slammed her fist on the hard oak table they were gathered at. "Well, Chavvah doesn't have a choice in the matters. If our great nation is going to continue, we don't want it to be full of goddamn rouge humans. And she's the only force that will stop them; after all she is the Living Goddess. I want her found. It's pathetic that we have to act as partisans in my own kingdom!"

"Well...There is a rumor that the Mark of the Dragon was discovered in Elroot. If I remember correctly, that's the symbol of Chavvah...."

Before going too far off into the complex world of the politics of this era in Mirabella, the situation in Zeledin was a three way toss between the Queen's Loyalists, the invading Reliniana Empire, and a mixed bag of disfranchised faye and humans that were untied by a farm boy named Joshua. The latter, was slowly beginning to attract a following since it stressed a message of comradely between all groups that currently suffered from the nationalistic leanings of both Rane and the Relinianan invaders. Rane had a greater reason to dislike this group, her former elite soldiers, the Paladins were supporting this rebellion within a war.

"That sounds a lot like her styling, indeed. Send a small band close to the outskirts of the city. Use force, if necessary."
The sands continued on as she flew, the heat beating down as the tepid wind around her let the rays that bounced off of the sands creep up. Maybe I should've just taken a little handful of water and then ran, Kara sighed as beads of sweat began to roll down her forehead. Hopefully it'll be cooler once I get to Elroot. That place is way north, and there's a mountain range to fly over before I get to even that general area, bleh.

A distant wind seemed to call her. What was this, humid air? Eventually, the horizon composed of the sand and the blue sky gave way to what appeared to be dunes preceding a magnificent sea of azure. Her eyes were not fooling her, the smell of salt water pervaded the air as she neared a tropical beach. The winds now relieved her of the baking rays of the sun. She descended, noting the lack of people. Hmm, I wonder if this is one of those places where only the Fayes have been?

Landing on the sand, she ran towards the water, not caring whether she got her dress wet or not. Greeting her was a sea composed of waters that gently lapped the white sands. It was almost as light as the cloudless sky suspended above the area. She splashed around in it, hopping and frolicking around very childishly since she seemed to have the beach to herself.

Thirty minutes or so passed until she finally remembered how far she was from her destination of Elroot. The mountains that she sought were nowhere in her sight. Ugh, I still have to deliver that thing from Ayzaa, Kara glanced at a large bag that she had been carrying while she flew. Hmm, it's probably a few hours 'til noon. If I started up again now along this beach, I'd be able to reach the foot of the mountains before nightfall. She waded out of the water, feeling cooled down enough to start on her trip to Elroot once again.

So once again, the wind called Kara forth as she ascended above beautiful waters, continuing her long journey northward. Much to her disknowledge, she was possibly heading towards trouble by leaving this abandoned paradise.

Shadiyah's blue eyes calmly looked out as she sat on a bench in front of a grand fountain. A gentle wind creeped in, moving her extensive hair as she began to strum her mandolin. A peaceful smile appeared on her face as people began coming towards her to listen. All rich and poor alike were attracted to the sound of the mandolin playing. A peaceful silence washed over the crowd, for no sounds remained in the square except for the sounds of the wind and Shadiyah's music. After she finished, people applauded, some throwing her bags of coins. She bowed with a smile ande took the money that they offered her.

"Thank you for your patronage," Shadiyah bowed once again before the crowd moved on with their day.

And so Shadiyah continued, playing humbly at squares and in front of shops. Despite enjoying herself, she could not help but feel that something was off, as if something was to happen to the town that housed her audience.
Rane was now on her horse. It had been several hours since she had been in the board meeting with her generals. Her long white hair was tied up into ponytail in order to prevent it from getting snagged by the horse's reigns. Rane often used this time to think about the future. It seemed rather bleak to her at the time. There was always a voice in the back of her mind that continued to nag her for her actions. The more she tried to ignore, the more it came back.

"Talk about everything being a drag around these parts. Stupid Chavvah, if you hadn't let yourself get captured, I could have ended this stupid war and get on with my life. What kind of Goddess are you, if all you do is run?"

"Do you really feel that it is all her fault?" The voice said. There was a spirit that appeared next to her, of a young woman that looked much like Rane but with bright eyes and even brighter red hair.

"Oh for the love of...Why can't you leave me alone? You sound worse than my mother. Always nagging. It's a good thing that I shunned you away a long time ago."

"You can never be rid of me. You know this as a fact Mistlyn."

"Don't you dare call me by that name. I am Rane now. It means the Wounds."

To an outsider, it would seem that the queen was talking to no one but herself.
Eternium may have been the capital of Zeledin, but Elroot had the largest concentration of Faye. It was for this reason that Benjamin and his raider cohorts decided to camp outside of the city, rather than spend the night at an inn. Benjamin's business had made him unpopular with other humans, men and women of business, such as himself. They were just as greedy, but not quite as clever or ambitious. The native faye of the once-proud nation, however, had a special disliking for him. It might be argued that his contributions in Zeledin ultimately brought much convenience (certainly this is what he liked to believe), but, despite his best efforts, news of his methods had become well-known. He himself had once heard that faye mothers used him as a sort of threat to keep their children in line. This could be unfortunate for Benjamin, as often resistant faye made his business far more difficult then it had to be, but occasionally his notorious reputation was enough to convince people to see things his way. The former Queen of Zeledin, would not be one to be swayed, and nor would her followers. It was for this reason that Benjamin was looking for her, but when they met, he would have to be prepared. So he (or rather the raiders) set up camp on a bluff looking over the city of Elroot. Benjamin wandered over to the edge and looked out over the city. It wasn't much to look at, but he supposed sappy minds might find it's appearance charming. He merely shrugged and lit his pipe. They would stay awhile here, and make sure they were prepared for an eventually audience with the good Queen of Zeledin, the Silver Witch.
Shadiyah came to the edge of Elroot after playing for awhile. In the distance, she caught sight of what seemed to be a person. She could not tell who the person was, for she certainly would turn the other way if she knew. Finding little else to do with her ample time, she began to play a song, wondering if the enigmatic figure in the distance would take notice.

She began strumming her mandolin simply at first. Soon, her voice accompanied her instrument. Benjamin, the man in the distance, most likely had no idea what the young woman was saying, for she was singing in the tongue she was named; nevertheless, her beautiful voice still came through, despite the lack of understanding. A modest crowd gathered around her to listen, enchanted by her voice and the effortless playing of her mandolin. It almost made them forget the conflict that surrounded them in this day and time, pushing it to the back of their minds as they listened to her go on. As she finished, a small round of applause ensued as bags of coins were tossed her way.

"Thank you for your patronage" she bowed once more before the people went on their way and she collected what money they had dropped.