The Queen’s Plea

[ “Tales Of  The Mountain child”  Story 4] 

 The folds in the Queen’s flowing silk dress rippled airily as a cool breeze swept in from her balcony. Purity flowed from the crown of her snow-white hair through her opal dress and down to her silver shoes. In front of her knelt a knight in gleaming silver armour, taking an elaborate helmet from his curled golden hair.

“Your majesty, the sun scorcher has decimated every village surrounding the city, we will likely be his next target” The knight addressed her “Kjer’stagg cannot fall to the dragon.”

“Do not fear Sir Lantir,” The queen said, raising a hand in calm dismissal “I will not let our glorious city fall to the likes of a brutish animal. Did you recover Kordan, as I asked?”

“Yes, your majesty. But why, what good is a flea ridden vagabond to us” The knight grunted to the floor.

“You would do good to wash your voice of such contempt. I owe my life to him.”

“How so, my Queen”

  The queen cleared her throat and prepared to tell her tale “ When the Levisstirr demons laid siege to Kjer’stagg in my father’s reign, me and my mother were taken hostage by the Levisstirr. My mother was killed in front of me and my father died trying to save us. The best warriors in Kjer’stagg banded with all of our best knights to rescue me, but all failed. I spent weeks locked away in a tiny carriage, guarded by the demon foot soldiers. However one night, a fight broke out and my carriage was opened, I looked outside and found Kordan standing amongst their corpses.

  He took me to a farmhouse where I remained for the rest of the siege, a siege which was ended by Kordan himself.”

“I doubt he is capable of such heroics now, the fires of the Sun Scorcher left him in a bad state” The knight grimaced.

“He will be fine, he is a tough man, it would take more than death itself to stop him rampaging through the ranks of darkness” The Queen smiled.

“I shall bring him up” The knight nodded, leaving the room.

  Queen Ovislen turned to look back out of her dreamy balcony. She closed her eyes in deep remembrance of her weeks far from royalty. A single dove landed on the marble banister and chirped a sweet song to her. She opened her eyes and greeted the tender creature, welcoming it into her home.

  Her moment of serenity was broken by the sound of thumping boots on her marble floor. She turned around took look at the scorched and scarred husk of muscle in front of her. Kordan’s weapons were lost, as was his beard…this bothered him most of all.

“I don’t like fire” he growled, rubbing his stubble with a burned hand.

“Kordan your presence warms my heart in this time of dire need” The Queen exclaimed, opening her arms and embracing him.

“Kneel to your Queen,” The knight barked.

“I’d rather not spend the energy” Kordan retorted.

  The knight sneered and stormed out of the room at the Queens dismissal. Beauty and the beast stood face to face in a chamber of gentle purity. A reflection of need shone in the eyes of the Queen and a reflection of the approaching darkness glowed in Kordan’s scars.

“Please Kordan, can you save my Kingdom?” she said with a desperate disposition.

“I don’t save…I survive.” said Kordan “ For the right price I would save your kingdom, but even I cannot defeat Vjera.”

“I will pay you in swords and armour and enough money to fill your purse for a lifetime”

“Not good enough” Kordan said, turning to leave the room. “I can’t kill the Sun Scorcher”

“You must!” The Queen shouted, “I command it of you” her voice became more desperate

  Kordan continued walking and the Queen fell to her knees, tears spilling from her warm mahogany eyes. She sobbed and held out her arms as if to stop him leaving. Kordan stopped and looked around to see the young Queen kneeling behind him, crying like the child he saved twelve years ago.

“You are nothing but a monster!” She sobbed “You are my only hope, and I trusted you like a brother”

“Monsters have a right to live as much as any man does.” He grunted.

“Why did you save me? Why did you come?” She whimpered, looking up at him with glistening eyes.

  Kordan rubbed his chin and looked down at the Queen “Children are not playthings in times of war, their lives and freedom are not weapons…ones too young to make their own choices and sacrifices should not be dragged into battle. I had no idea you were a Princess, I would have just as eagerly rescued a peasant child.”

 The dove chirped and hopped into the room where they spoke, it looked and them both and leapt onto a nearby armchair.

“Then consider the thousands of children in this city that will perish as a result of your decision.”

  Kordan froze speechless, his own conscious trying to find a home in his battle worn mind. He could feel the cold absence of his own humanity and his own sense of valour.

“Bring me chain mail and two fine swords. For today only, I will find chivalry in your tears and your cries.”

  Two handmaidens ran from the room to collect what he desired. They returned in mere minutes and Kordan soon found himself dressed in a suit of chain with a gleaming broadsword in each mailed fist.

  The Queen rose and rested her head on his chest, she sobbed quietly into his armour and stroked his shoulder.

“Even surrounded by noble knights, I have always admired you, and prayed for your safety and your return each night.”

  A strangers voice rang through the room “Prayers for a simple beasts would go unheard.”

  Their gaze darted around to see Vjera standing on the chair where the dove once stood.

“No…” The Queen said, staring in disbelief through wet eyes.

“Why are you doing this!” Kordan roared, “What do you gain from taking the lives of millions”

“I work for a greater good, our new master Fryst. The mighty one speaks to me from my own mind, he tells me that our world is destined to become a haven for monsters and demons alike. Sadly, beastly as you are, you are still too man to hold a place in our glorious heaven.” Vjera laughed a booming laugh, “Every human must be cleansed from this wretched land, and I am your saviour”

  The handmaidens fled and Vjera drew his sword from his belt.

“So be it, dragon!” Shouted Kordan “If I am too man for your haven then I am man enough to fight for my home. I am Kordan, I am a beast no longer”

“Bold words from one born of suffering” Vjera grinned.

  The dragon lunched forward at Kordan, but his blow was blocked. In human form, Vjera gave an aura of untouchable perfection. The Queen shuffled to the back wall and anticipated the epic duel.

“I would rather be born of suffering than born of myth” Kordan grumbled, striking forward and locking swords with Vjera.

  In a flash the roof exploded and they found themselves standing on an open plateau with the winged beast hovering above them. Kordan spat on the ground and readied his weapons.

“Why do reject this act of mercy that I enact upon your world!” Vjera roared through his flaming maw.

“Enough!” Kordan called back.

  The world held its breath and fell silent, Storm clouds gathered to witness the battle. The two combatants growls mingled with the growling thunder as the battle begun.

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