the mad queen
The Mad Queen is an on-going serialization I started for the weekly 100 word writing challenge The Prediction. Enjoy the evolving story here… 😉
There Will Be War
Pitch black eyes studied him from beneath a lace-edged hood, as large flakes of snow kissed his eyelashes and slipped down his collar. He couldn’t say if Morgan was pleased or troubled to see him, the line of her mouth merely straight, without hint of either direction. Raising a gloved hand, she smudged the freckles of blood on his cheek, and made an ambiguous sound in her throat, as she eyed the remnants of violence on his coat.
“I had my reasons,” she said. Was there regret in her eyes?
“There will be war.”
“He left me no choice.”
(Challenge words: pitch, reason, smudge)
Blood for Blood
Thrusting aside the tent flap, Luke stepped cautiously into Morgan’s tent. She had an inconvenient habit of testing him, but today her Maolarian blades were stowed, and she was standing casually beside her desk, with her damn crow on her wrist. Luke trusted her to the Seven Hells and back, but the bird could rot.
Stroking the crow’s painted wing, Morgan said something in the guttural language only the two of them understood, and adjusted the maps on her desk.
She eyed him. “Quindar will seek vindication.”
“Blood for blood,” Luke agreed.
“The Queen is still in hand?”
(Challenge words: vindicate, paint, crow)
Swearing, Morgan raked her fingers through her braided hair, loosening several small moonstones to clatter onto her desk. “Another suicide attempt?” she said.
“She’s being accused of theft, again,” Luke said. Though vital to Morgan’s plans, the Queen’s erratic personality had proven to be more troublesome than binding all four Hellthorian Battle-Lords, and resulted in more blood.
Morgan arched a pierced brow. “The snake merchant?”
“Supposedly a rather costly emerald asp when he visited her tents. I would advise that we stop allowing her visitors.” The screams would start again, but a gag would remedy that.
(Challenge words: asp, personality, theft)
The Mad Queen
As expected, the Queen had been less than pleased at her isolation. During one of Luke’s visits, she procured a handful of dried bark and attempted to stuff it down her own throat, blue eyes spitting fire, as her maids tackled her and forcibly cleared her mouth. Once they helped her back to her feet, she smiled coldly, eyes still hard on his, and made a regal gesture at the chessboard in one corner, unconcerned about the bits of wood on her chin or the wild tangle of her honey-gold hair.
“Care to play, dog,” she said.
(Challenge words: bark, chess, dry)
Not a Stitch
It was a wet, bone-cold day when Luke took Morgan to visit the Queen. Both stopped abruptly upon entering her tent, and for a moment the only sound was the steady drip of water from their weather-spelled coats.
“I’d known she had a mind deficit, but…” Morgan’s low voice trailed off.
“There you are,” the Queen said, slapping irritably at her flustered maids, who were vainly attempting to shield her. The tall woman had not a stitch of clothing, save an empty scabbard buckled around her waist. “How are my soldiers?”
Morgan arched a brow. “Clothed, Queen Fiaena.”
(Written for The Prediction. Challenge words: buckle, deficit, purple)
More mountain than man, Eldaris Tembe-Aurelius towered over Morgan as she lounged in her chair, however despite their extreme difference in size, the northerner eyed her like one would a winter-starved bear. His odd sand-colored eyes glanced towards Queen Fiaena, standing calmly in a hooded jacket, before returning to Morgan’s expectant face.
“What do you require of Hellthoria, War Mistress,” Eldaris said, tone neutral.
“Quindar has finally decided to move his army against us. The preparations have been made?”
“As requested. Our Sky Mistress has prepared thirty of her dal’Shashar.”
“Good. Wait for my signal.”
“We will watch the skies.”
(Written for The Prediction. Challenge words: jacket, neutral, sand)
Quindar’s dulcet voice hummed across her left bare shoulder, as Morgan sat in her bath. Pursing her lips in irritation, she cursed the failed wards. A sideways glance detected a large green beetle, almost indistinguishable from the patina on the tub’s rim. For a moment, she considered flicking it into the water and watching it drown.
“Enjoying yourself, pet?” Quindar said through the enthralled bug.
“Still skittering into places you’re not wanted, I see.”
His laugh flushed her skin. “I’m told you have dal’Shashar. A bluff, perhaps?”
“Amused, but I’ve let you play off leash for too long.”
(Written for The Prediction. Challenge words: dulcet, bluff, patina)
“He’s trying to goad me into attacking,” Morgan said, irritably, as she prowled before her desk. She’d summoned Luke from her bath, taking only enough time to throw on a gray robe that clung distractingly to her damp skin.
“Perhaps he wants to draw you out of camp.”
“My thought as well.” She paused, hands resting on her hips. “He wants the Queen. But why now?”
The ground quivered beneath their feet, followed by the patter of rain from unseen storm clouds above. Morgan’s eyes widened. “She’s a Storm-Speaker!”
“I thought none remain.”
“Apparently the Council lied. Explains Fiaena’s behavior.”
(Written for The Prediction. Challenge words: cloud, quiver, remain)
Queen Fiaena looked up from her calligraphy with an amused expression, ink-wet brush poised over the parchment-wrapped lap desk balanced on her knees.
“You think I’m a what?” she said.
Reluctantly, Morgan repeated herself. “A Storm-Speaker.”
Fiaena laughed, and sucked a drop of ink from her finger. “You’re positively full of delightful ideas, Lady Morgan. Truly, you keep me quite amused!”
“Your uncle was of the blood.”
“My uncle was many things. I, however, am just a woman.”
Abruptly Luke barreled inside, his sword drawn. “Morgan! We’re under attack.”
“No.” He frowned. “The Eaetori.”
(Written for The Prediction. Challenge words: calligraphy, suck, uncle)