Carried along by the weight of her loss; the crest of her storm seemed so shallow now; barely breaking on her shattered shores.
The fires smoldered still in places throughout the manor; every so often, a fire quickly and silently went out only smoke to show where life had been or flames danced higher as new fuel was found and greedily consumed.
She sat on her blackened steps; beyond weeping. Defeat filled the very air around her dancing on her frame like an old lover. Loss, betrayal and exhaustion eroded her domain from beneath her feet – this tiny kingdom that was hers alone out in the real world.
The decisive battle took place inside her very walls and she had woefully lost…seemingly everything. The singed steps bore testament to the final conflict waged here at this once hallowed hall. Now the scorching hid the sigils and incantations she had carved herself first to protect then to burn.
As a last resort, she herself uttered the profane words that brought down her house; for in true dragon fashion if she was to burn then those who sought her destruction would burn with her.
Gone was the once cherished husband, chosen of the Younger God now driven to insanity into the night. He had been tainted by the Dark One long ago.
The Queen had sought a pact with the Nyt Wytch and on the dark of the scorpion moon; she had summoned Her and her winged attendants. This was ancient magic to call this One from the Void – magic from before time. But, this way of removing all evil from her halls was the only option.
Of course the Nyt Wytch came, she came with her winged avengers driving all the evil from the keep. As the Queen sealed the pact in blood uttering the forbidden words over and over again great power condensed. Even her oldest son was driven into the night with only the clothes on his back.
As the deep enchantments drove off all who were in the employ of the Dark One, and there were many, the Nyt Wytch’s feathered punishers laid waste to the manor – all objects infected with the brand of the Dark One were demolished. Righteous fire sprang up in every quarter of the small keep. Those objects filled with the unholy blasphemy of the Dark One were consumed with purifying light.
A deep fire burned in the Queen’s belly and she knew now, here in mid-life, a being clung for existence in her womb. A daughter sired by the now fled King and despair enveloped the Queen completely.
The Dark One had all but defeated the Queen. His assault had patience and cunning; working its evilness into her sanctified halls. All the while, the youngest son looked on in horror as his mother the Queen sank into madness. A black pit yawned for her soul as her mind was already gone.
For days, the young Prince never left her side – fearful for her life. Riders came in from neighboring kingdoms bearing token gifts wrapped in cold condolences. Then the warlords from the frontier descended on her borders; power hungry mercenaries who longed for her body and throne. Word had gone out to the far corners that the once viral King – chosen priest of the Younger God had vacated his Queen and throne. Several barbarians marched nigh unto her gates suing for entrance – which was summarily denied. How dare they the Queen fumed in one of her lucid moments desire this small empire she had forged with her hands and her magics neither she nor her realm were for such as they.
And the demons from the Otherworld came in the full light of day under glare of a yellow sun to feast on her decay.
The safety of her desert fortress was far behind her – vanished into those enchanted sands. That holy demesne where her true strength flowed from; that dreamlike place where she had crooned the moon into enchanted pools of silver, danced with the sun at midnight and bewitched the Father of Dragons from his cosmic skies – that realm was gone forever.
Fire then mounted up in her like a tempest on a far off sun. On a hallowed night when the stars fell like rain in her oak forest, the Queen called forth all manner of enchantments to fend off those who thought to rule her land and body. In the deep of night with the witch fires blazing; her magic rose up like a cosmic storm and she was at one with the elements and arcane forces of the universe. Swords were broken and war banners shriveled like old fruit on the vine. Those who dared her halls fled into the night leaving no token of their presence. Yet the darkness soon leaked away and the sun rose again to reveal that her heart was still shattered, her madness returned and two lives in one body fought for life. For the now hated sun was the shield emblem of her fled priest King and she – – was once the moon.
In mad distraction she took hallowed stones and carved symbols on her main gates. She would let those who rode to her door know the strange madness that filled her, for she wrote in her own blood:
”For the Sun has forsaken this land forever and now the moon is alone”
The few friends she retained sent well wishes and frequent riders to check on her yet on the edge of civilization the Queen knew she and her son were alone. She could not bear to think of the tiny daughter that should be growing in her womb. For as the weeks passed she knew to her horror that her womb would soon entomb the dead.
Weeks turned to months and her madness increased. Only her obsessive roamings once the sun vacated heavens vault allowed the Queen to maintain her tiny kingdom for some semblance of sanity would return while darkness reigned. Many had deserted her borders for the flames of her ancient magic culled from worlds dead before this world took life struck fear in the outliers of her tiny domain. Truly she and her son were alone.
Reports came in from neighboring kingdoms of the former King’s escapades – now a man possessed; under a heavy strain. King no more but a vagabond with nowhere to lay his head now consumed with fear, guilt and the drink. It was a demon that was his constant lover now.
As her madness deepened an old friend living beyond the borders of the known world in the deep old forest took matters into her own hands. This cunning woman sought out the once chosen King sending flying messengers to find him – to tell him of his Queen, sending strong cleansing magic. Calling on the All Mother she petitioned for help for the exiled King and his expectant Queen. The former King was shocked from the evil grasp of the demon – mostly. He was ravaged beyond recognition yet slowing did he realize what had befallen him – pride.
Conquest had come too easy for he had come in the name of the Younger God – lifting the standard and symbol of his patron deity over the land. In pride he had risen above all. The Younger God himself personally chose him and espoused his quest to Kingship, was not a beauteous princess his queen she who was high priestess to the All Mother, she who was the very descendant of the dragon lord himself – the world was his oyster.
Yet the spiritual warfare that came after the conquering he was ill prepared for and the Dark One took aim taking him down all too easily. For the sake of his God and his Queen he began the climb back to his feet, his dignity and his rightful throne.
Her loss was total, her destruction almost as complete; a shell of her former self. Yet the light that shown in her seemed brighter and unreal. It was a mad light – the unhindered light of the All Mother. For the great Goddess waited as she always did; waited for her sight was long and her patience longer.
This troubled child who had a destiny would need the All Mother in her madness; for the All Mother was all too acquainted with madness; the kind caused by tragic love.
The light shown desperately through this once and now cursed again child of the dragon. The ancient gift of humanity bestowed to the First Daughter of the Dragon Lord was now a malediction visited upon this several times removed granddaughter of the Great Dragon.
Once this dragon child turned her face back to the All Mother she would show her how to harness her power – teach her how to use the dragon blood. There was potential in this human dragon child – this tragic beauty with a drop of the fae. So much she could accomplish glories of spirit beyond that desert fortress she longed to return to.
The ragged king clung to this new hope of a new life even with the crushing blow of the dead child in his Queen womb. He knew the Younger God had not forsaken him.
Again the Queen turned her face to the All Mother for she would never abandon her and the Queen knew this. The Nyt Wytch had been all consuming and demanding – commanding adherence to rituals from the void. A strict obedience if her favor were to be curried which the Queen had complied with; now the works had been done and a leveling of the field was accomplished. The Nyt Wytch cared naught for collateral damage. The power she commanded affected all. While the Queen knew this in her mind her heart and soul were unprepared for the devastation this tower falling would encompass – that was the resolution the Nyt Wytch gifted a complete leveling.
Yes, though her kingdom was in flaming ruins there were no obstacles in her way; all had been swept away; it was this fallout that the Queen must cope with now. This lack of knowledge and planning; this was the other side of the coin the backhanded gift of the Nyt Wytch – the madness.
Now it was the All Mother’s time again. As her priestess descended to do battle in the ‘Otherworld’ the All Mother would show her the way; for it was the Lord of the Dead that would remove the madness, lift the curse and restore the dragon gift to its rightful place. The Queen as yet only knew the temple fires needs be lit again for only the All Mother’s temple had escaped the ravages to her kingdom – this itself was a sign.
With love and guilt, the Queen made herself ready. Alone, as it should be, for her attendants had fled the cataclysm; she purified herself in water and oil – lighting the sacred incense favored by the All Mother.
With much reverence, she began the oldest of priestly tasks – cleansing the temple, lighting her fires, singing her praises – praises to She Who Would Never Abandon Me.