Lily Thatcher dropped the shattered piece of Excalibur to the ground and stared incredulously at Timur’s limp body. She looked down at her bloodied hands in shock. Some of the blood was her own from cutting up her hands with the sharp broken edge of Excalibur, but most of it was Timur’s. The adrenaline that had been driving her instincts started to wane, and she dropped to her knees. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she felt both an enormous relief mixed with a deep grief. She crawled up the steps, tearing more of the tattered wedding dress in the process. She reached the top of the staircase where Allan’s body lay crumpled to the ground and she buried her face into his chest.
And then she pulled back with eyes wide.
Could it be true?!
Allan’s chest slowly rose and fell with each shallow breath. She placed her ear against his chest, and recognized the soft sound of a very slow heartbeat.
“Help! Please, somebody help me!” she sobbed with joy.
Two of Timur’s priests came running up to her, and she immediately regretted crying out. She scrambled down the few steps to where the other piece of Excalibur lay and grabbed it by the hilt. The two priests immediately stopped their advance as she pointed the broken end at them.
“My Queen, how can we assist thee?” one of the priests sheathed his sword and bowed down.
The second priest looked back and forth between her and Timur’s body in confusion, and then joined his fellow priest in a kneeling stance. Her eyes widened in surprise. She had entirely forgotten that because of Timur’s forced marriage they were now technically at her command.
“Cease your order to kill off the peasants immediately! Spread the word! Your Queen has spoken!”
“Yes, your majesty.” The first priest stood and sprinted off.
“And as for you,” she spoke to the second priest, “This man is not dead. I need you to carry him inside to the bedchambers.”
“Yes, your majesty.” He nodded and stood hesitantly, “But…”
“What is it?”
He pointed a shaky finger toward the entrance to the Temple, “The… the demon…”
As if on cue, a guttural roar erupted from the Temple and the ground at their feet shook.
Lily smirked, “Don’t worry. I’ll go with you and subdue the dragon.”
Lily took one last longful look at her beloved Allan as he lay unconscious on the ornate bed. He was being tended after by the local shaman, whom she recognized. He was the same man who had treated her wounds from Tiamat’s talons, and he seemed equally surprised to see her still alive after his earlier fatal prognosis.
She returned to the main corridor where Tiamat awaited her return. Although the great room was adorned with unique woodcarvings on the pillars and awnings and beautiful chandeliers that hung from the ceiling, the massive hole in the shattered marble floor and the scattered bodies of dead priests and rebels made the place look like a war zone. Smoke was still rising from the hole where the servers caught on fire, although the thickness of the smoke had abated significantly.
Lily approached Tiamat and placed the palm of her hand on the dragon’s scaly hide.
Doth thine beloved fare well?
Lily heard Tiamat’s voice inside her mind.
“I’m not sure.” She sighed, “The shaman looked all over but couldn’t find any open wounds. He says that his immortal powers as a Seraph saved his life, but he didn’t have an answer as to why he’s still unconscious. He’s not sure what Timur did to him, so only time will tell.”
Tiamat’s nostrils flared.
Knowest thou where that vile man Timur hast fled? I doth desire to avenge the death of my children.
Lily forgot that Tiamat wasn’t up to speed with current events.
“I, uh…” Lily lowered her gaze uncomfortably, “I killed him.”
Tiamat’s eyes widened in surprise.
How hast thou accomplished this?
“I… I stabbed him with a broken piece of an enchanted sword.” She felt uneasy talking about it, “The sword did the rest. I thought I was avenging Allan’s death. I had no idea he was still alive at the time.”
Thou dost not need to justify thine actions. Timur ‘twas a vicious, evil man. Thou shalt be hailed as a Saint forever more for ridding both worlds of that man.
Lily sighed. The last 24 hours had been filled with such grief and turmoil that it was hard to see the good in any of it.
Thou hast fulfilled an ancient prophecy. It doth state: “…it shall come to pass that Elias shall take up arms against Abaddon. Elias shall fall by sword, and Abaddon shall also fall by the hand of another.” Thy hand didst wield the sword by which the great and terrible Abaddon hath finally fallen.
Lily raised an eyebrow, “I fulfilled a prophecy, eh? Well, that’s a first. I’ll make sure to check that off my bucket list.”
Bucket? I knowest not what thou dost mean.
“Nevermind. Don’t worry about it.”
I fear I must caution thee however. ‘tis a warning that doth come with the prophecy as well. It doth state: “And woe be unto the inhabitants of both Earth and Zion, for one shall conquer death, and by his hand shall the calamities foretold of old come upon all mankind…”
“Wait, what?!” Lily’s eyes widened, “Are you telling me that Timur could come back from the dead and start Armageddon?!”
Verily, ‘tis a possibility. Yet…
Lily interrupted Tiamat’s thoughts by removing her hand from the scaly hide, “Well, in that case… I’ll just have to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
She ran down the hall and toward the massive door to the Temple, “Guards! GUARDS!”
The two men stood at attention.
“We need to prepare a great cremation ceremony for the King’s body.”
One of the guards raised an eyebrow, “Your majesty, but ‘tis customary to entomb the bodies of our ancient kings…”
“Don’t question me.” She seethed, “Your Queen has spoken. Now go!”
Warfare (DarkForce: A GameLit Saga)
Copyright © 2021 R. M. Mulder
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the authors imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
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