This is a short story I have been working on for a few days. This tale takes place in a universe of my own so feel free to ask questions if you have any. There are some graphic depictions of events in this story, so use discretion when reading. As always, let me know what you think!
Talos Guide You!
The candle flames danced in time with the patrons that filled the Great Hall. Suspended on high chandeliers and mounted candelabras, they watched with anxious anticipation for the night to arrive. They found their worth in those dark times, being a light to a misguided humanity- a blinded herd of beasts that sought to tame it's ravenous hunger. Confined to its wax throne, each flame was forced to watch haplessly until it became of use once again.
By comparison, the Great Hall was the center of attention. The nobles and ambassadors marveled at the architecture. The tiled floor was the purest marble. The bricked walls were flawlessly erect. Each window was perfectly positioned and pieced together with the most brilliant stained glass. The setting sun shone through the western panes, decorating the hall with a kaleidoscope of colors. No one bothered to notice the pair of thrones at the northern end of the hall- where one sat and one stood-, nor did they see the stoic guards that positioned themselves at every pillar. The guests simply danced to the music of the royal orchestra and fixated on the beautiful arrangements of the Hall.
Of the many occupying the room, only the one on the throne stayed off of her feet. Her hair, once a healthy, honey-colored tone, was streaked with silvers and grays. Her skin was cold and clammy, lacking the youthfulness that it had even a month prior. Like most of her body, her cheeks had sunken in. Only adding to her sickly appearance, her thin, cracked lips trembled as if she recited some ancient unheard verse or spoke to a figure only she herself could see. Her dull, brown eyes stared ahead at her subjects, but she looked at something far beyond.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“You will be fine without me, my love,” the trembling man whispered, his callused hand reaching out and caressing her cheek. He coughed and wheezed, fighting desperately for just a few more moments with his queen, though he knew well his end was at hand. Poisoned in his mead, there were few things anyone could do to prevent such an ending.
“I don't want to live without you,” she persisted, sobbing quietly. Her voice echoed in the Hall where her king laid, surrounded by his subjects that came to mourn his death. She ignored them and their insensitive chatter about who would take his place. She just wanted to be with him. “Corrin, I love you more than anything. I do not want to be queen without you by my side.”
“I agree,” a nearby noble spoke up from his silence. As the eyes of the subjects, the queen, and her dying king fell upon the raven-haired braggart, an out of place grin appeared on his lips. “Our country should not be left without a king, nor should his beautiful queen be left to lead alone.” Sickening agreeances arose from the crowd, a noise that spurred the man onward. “High King Corrin, I issue a challenge for your queen and your throne!”
The demand thundered across the room, met with total and utter silence. The shock at his insolence, the anger from his request, it drove the queen to her feet. “You absolute barbarian! Insensitive demon! Leave my Hall and my King immediately!”
“No,” the man replied simply, his cocky smile widening. “I have made a valid challenge, at the King's Throne, in front of the King's subjects. Do you dare disrespect our ancient laws? Do you dare interfere and commit treason, Queen Elita?”
The queen could not answer before the dying king cried out, “I accept!” His handmaidens tried to hush him, cleaning his pained face with wash cloths and gently cradling him to making his pain ease. Their kindness- however heartfelt they meant it to be- was a wasted effort. He demanded they help his weakening, shaking body to its feet. He brushed his sweaty brown hair from his face, staring his queen down one last time. His green eyes burned with a passion as he admired her, determined to let her be his last thoughts on the earth. “Elita,” he bade her, “live for me. This is my only request of you. Live for me, and avenge this day.”
Her screams of protest drowned the sounds of unsheathing blades as guards restrained the maddened queen. She found against them with all the strength she had, but it was not enough. Her eyes brimmed tears as she stared down the man who faced her king. She took in his sickened grin, the lust in his eyes, and the empty vile that hung from the lace on his neck. It was a set up, but they had learned too late. The blade pierced Corrin's heart and her sobs were whispers among the fickle crowd's cheers.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Your highness,” a soft but sure voice muttered from over the queen's shoulder. “Your highness, are you alright?” The very words pulled her wandering, maddened mind from the memory back into the hostile reality. Queen Elita didn't respond verbally, but the slight nod of her head satisfied the speaker. “You don't have to do this, my Lady. Perhaps we can fin-”
“No,” she responded quickly, cutting off the woman behind her. “We will do this. There is nothing else I would rather do.” The words were a cold wind, a reflection of her icy core. She didn't seem to realize how much warmth she lacked until the woman placed a hand on her shoulder. The touch startled her at first forcing her to go rigid. Elita turned her eyes to the woman, scanning her for signs of hostility.
The guard was unique among the shiny, metal coated footmen scattered around the Hall. Her armor was a far more form-fitting dark leather. Etched in her bracers, breastplate, and skirt, blue and red glyphs decorated her seams. She was a tall, built woman, lacking any trace of fear or malice in her expression. Instead, she showed nothing but concern for the queen in front of her. Her hand gently squeezed the woman's shoulder as she knelt down beside her. “Forsake the promises you made; be released from this fate, my Queen. I will carry this burden regardless, alone, without your suffering.”
Queen Elita turned her gaze back to the dancers and drunkards of her court. Her hand, bony and cold, gently took that of her bodyguard. For several moments, she stole the warmth from the woman. She felt young and healthy again. Her heart pumped without aching. Her mind was freed from the prisons of agony and resentfulness. For all the pleasure she felt, she turned down the temptation. “Vindicta, dearest friend, I have made up my mind. You are the kindest creature to call me queen, your heart the purest gold... But I... I will not betray the promises I made.” As she withdrew her hand, stealing away from the fiery comfort, her expression became stoic once more. “My resolve is to see this through.”
“As my Queen decrees.” Vindicta eyed the woman with a careful gaze. There was a pain in her chest sharper than any sharpened blade or honed arrow could inflict. Her skin crawled like a thousand flies upon a carcass. Her stomach tossed as a ship upon the angry seas. It was remorse, she thought, a sickening guilt that she had many a chance to correct but found it impossible to speak until that moment. She knew the Queen's heart. She read the pages of her mind, digesting the thoughts and feelings until they became her own. The woman before her was a husk of the powerful beauty that was Queen Elita.
“Ladies and Lords of Hilenmar Court! Cease your merriments and lend me ears!” cried the herald. His voice silenced the orchestra and patrons alike, directing the attention of the noblemen to the set of doors opposite the thrones. “His Lordship, Successor to the Throne, Thain of Desmero!” His words split the crowd down the middle, the multitude of eyes anxiously fixated on the impossibly large doors.
Two knights, armed with shields and lances, stepped up to the door in unison. They pulled apart the doors, armor clinking like clockworks as the doors grinded across the floor. The sight on the other side sent the people to their knees. Donning heavy, expensive robes, the successor basked in the radiance of his metaphorical spotlight. The raven locks that once fell in his face were slicked back expertly, allowing his eyes full range to wander where they pleased. From nobleman to nobleman, he studied each expression, demanding in silence their full admiration. Satisfied, he strode into the main fall, followed by a well-dressed priest and a beautiful handmaiden. In her hands rest old King Corrin's crown.
His parade afforded him the quiet mumblings of praise and well wishing from his patrons. It was a noise that screeched in Queen Elita's ears. How she wanted nothing more than to cut out the tongues of the betrayers, or to sew shut the lips of the blasphemers. Those men and women cared not what the betrayer had done. He had filled their coffers with gold, choking their protesting throats with silver. They were won not by his kindness, as her Corrin had done those short years prior. Their hearts were corrupted by bribes and pleasures. They needed to be purged clean.
Upon reaching the throne, the would-be king laid his lusty gaze upon the Queen and her bodyguard. “Well?” he started, an expectant tone saturating his already pompous words. “Does the queen and her maiden wish to greet me like the rest of my servants?”
Queen Elita simply stared the man down, her eyes burning in such hatred that his found himself unable to hold her gaze. In her place, Vindicta stepped forward to meet him. Her hand rested upon his chest, a gesture of commitment, as she bowed her head to the traitor lord. “I speak for myself and my Queen. May you get everything you deserve, your lordship, and more.”
“Indeed,” Thain agreed, motioning the priest to take his spot at the center of the stage. “Begin your rites, Father. The sun waits to set on it's new King.”
The priest sighed heavily, nothing about the ceremony bringing him joy. A few years prior he crowned a more just, more deserving king. Few months prior, he buried that same young warrior. How unfit it was to crown his murderer in the same Hall where the noble ruler was slain. Such were the laws in which he was bound, however; laws written in stone and sealed in blood from a time were the land was changed but the people were not. “Very well,” he addressed the noble. “Let us begin.”
As the priest dove into his long rehearsed speech, the Queen on her throne simply waited. She was patient, but those lines of ancient memorium and formal blessing left his lips slower than the sun left the sky. They carved into her skin, knives burrowing into her back, as the honors of the King,-her Corrin- were given to the snake before her. Still, she waited ever so endearingly for the Father to bestow the final words upon the pretender.
“... with open arms,” the priest ended his formal rant, turning his attention to the handmaiden beside him. He gave her the kindest smile he could muster through his distraught feelings, taking the embellished crown in his own hands. “Thain of Desmero, successor to High King Corrin, on this day we crown you with our highest honor and praises.” He nestled the crown upon the man's head, a halo upon a demon, and called out loudly for all to hear. “All hail High King Thain of Hilenma-”
“My champion challenges the High King for right of rule!” Queen Elita's voice cried out, the first unbroken words any had heard for many months. It was a demand that didn't allow the cheers of the nobles, for they were too shocked to even celebrate the new crowning. The priest was surprised, pleasantly surprised, for if anyone deserved to rule it was his solitary queen.
“Wh-... What?!” demanded the newly-crowned king. “What did you say?” He persisted as if he hadn't heard the definite decree, as if the entire court hadn't heard the heartfelt pleas of the suffering woman.
“My champion challenges the High King for right of rule,” Queen Elita persisted. The frail, sickly woman remained seated, but rather than her cold expression, she appeared invigorated. It was a plan that had taken months, one that Thain had carelessly overlooked in his victory speeches to the conquered widow. She was cunning not complacent.
Thain trembled in anger and fear. “No!” he shouted at her, snarling like a terrified wolf. “I refuse! How dare you make such a challenge, moments after I am crowned your ruler!”
“Do you dare disrespect our ancient laws?” mocked Vindicta, her lips curling into a grin. “Did my Queen overstep her rights, issuing a challenge at your Throne in the presence of your court? Do you dare commit treason, King Thain?” The words spewed from her throat like venom. She wanted him to taste them, be paralyzed by them, feel them helplessly killing him from the inside out. It was what he forced her Queen into feeling. It was what he needed to suffer through.
The king began speaking his rebuttal, but the priest interrupted. Old and wise, the man knew the law far better than anyone standing in the Great Hall. “I have crowned you under the laws she invokes now, my King. I may yet remove you for breaking these ancient tenets.” He had to fight the smile that tugged on his lips. “You held great King Corrin accountable, so shall I hold you now.”
Thain stared into the crowd of waiting nobles. Trapped with no other alternative, he felt like shrieking. So long had he awaited the moment, so many risks he had taken to stand before those subjects and be the object of their admiration... It was all for naught. He was bound by the awful queen's tricks. “So be it!” he shouted, gripping the staff in his hand to try and quell his anger. His voice lowered slightly as he glared at the Queen. “I will summon my Champion.”
“No,” Queen Elita responded simply, smiling with genuine joy as the color drained from his face. “My champion challenges the High King, not his champion. You will fight her for right of rule, or you will have your title stripped from you the hour you received it.” Her fingers tapped the arm of her chair, as she laughed softly. “Either option is fine with me, your Highness.”
Her mocking did nothing but anger the man more. “You witch...” he growled at her, reluctantly nodding to the priest to let him know he accepted the Queen's terms. “So I shall kill her and remain King. I tell you this though; if she falls to my blade, so shall the Queen.”
“Let it be,” she responded without hesitation, her smile of relief never fading from her face. “Before the court, at this hour, let this final battle for the throne be won.”
“So says the Queen,” agreed the priest, closing his ancient tome.
“So says the Queen,” repeated the court, chattering excitedly as they were forced to clear an area for combat. They were simple creatures, needing some kind of stimulant to satisfy them. They cared not for the winner or loser; a bloodbath was exciting enough.
Thain turned to the handmaiden, ripping the rope from his back and tossing it into her waiting hands. The armor beneath hugged his body tightly, protecting it from any visible weakness. It was designed with no spared expense. The ancient metals still shone as shiny as the day it was forged. The armor for the king, the true king, was promised never to fail. His blade was just as brilliant, humming with an energy beyond worldly comprehension.
Allowing him time to prep, Vindicta lingered by her Queen. The moment was at hand, but she dreaded it more than any time else in her life. She knelt by the woman, watching cautiously as the King made angry demands of his soldiers and maids. Everything had to be perfect for him. His life hung in the balance.
“You will not lose,” the Queen told her champion, the smile still remaining. “Do not look so worried.”
The woman laughed quietly, placing her hand gently on the Queen's forearm. “I know, my Lady. I'm not worried about the outcome of this battle.” The smile- the kindest, most beautiful of any creature in the room- faded just as slowly as it appeared. “I worry for you. I beg of you, with all I am in soul and flesh, revoke the promise you made. Allow me to take this burden alone.”
Queen Elita drew a deep breath. The inhale was as cold as the frozen air in the morning, the exhale like a knife in her throat. “I am tired,” she told Vindicta. “I grow weaker, my heart grows heavier. This is what I wish. I know you love me.”
“More than anything, my Queen,” the woman responded certainly.
“Then do this. This is my last wish.” The Queen, young and broken, stared at the creature before her. “There is nothing I want more.”
Vindicta shifted her gaze from her Queen to the man who took to the floor below the thrones. He paced like a ravenous lion, his eyes set on the Queen's champion. “So says the Queen,” the woman whispered, kissing her Lady's hand. Despite how desperately she wanted to hide it, tears rolled from her cheeks. They sizzled and burned from the heat of her skin, unnoticed by the mad king.
She placed herself across from him, planting her feet in a set of squares. She was composed in body, each movement of her hands and feet calculated and determined far before she executed the motions. As the king rocked back and forth in his fighting stance, taking on the brutal form of a footman, the woman stood erect. Her posture was that of an elegant dancer, poised and calculated. Her hand rested on the blade at her side that was bound by the same runic leather as her armor pieces.
Thain was the first to strike. Like a metallic, clanking bull, he charged the red and brown armored woman. Brutality and strength were his allies, speed and ferocity his closest friends. His sword swung downward, that ancient blade and its primal hum promising to rip even the strongest of armors asunder. He stared into the woman's focused eyes as the blade made contact, waiting to hear the tear of her weak leather and even weaker flesh.
Instead, he was met by the ring of metal colliding with tiled flooring. He simply blinked- a moment of darkness, a fracture of time- and the woman had moved clear out of the sword's path. His gasp was swallowed by the cries of amazement and awe from the watching patrons. His shifting eyes followed their stares. The woman, unscathed by his brutal blade, was clear out of the sword's path, standing idle behind him.
How have I missed? he demanded of himself, his brows furrowing as he tried to piece together how she had avoided that killing strike. Why does she stand there, watching me with such an empty gaze? Is her mind elsewhere? Is this merely a game for her? The questions buzzed in his head, but there was no mistaking the feelings in the pit of his stomach. In front of the glaring sea of eyes, he was no longer their godhead kind. He was a fumbling jester, a funnyman for they Queen's pleasure. She was humiliating him. She wanted the crowd to see how feeble he was compared to her champion. No, he could not be humiliated again. He would make an example of the creature before him and then her dying Queen.
He composed himself once more, ignoring the chanting amazements and praises of awe from the crowd. Such speed, they praised; such grace, they adored. He would give them something to worship. Thain once again charged the woman, bringing with him more caution and less speed. That time, he felt the heavy blade collide with the champion's armor. Yet, before his very eyes, she vanished as a vapor in the night.
Afraid, he turned on his heels to look behind him. There he beheld her, less than a sword length away. Face to face, he was forced to examine every detail beneath her hood. Her lips were thick and rosy, completely unblemished by time or cold. Strands of coal black hair peeked from beneath the headpiece were it fell from it's tie behind her. Her skin was a blameless ivory, except from were the tears rolled down her cheeks. The streaks still steamed where the salty liquid had burned into her flesh and charred the ivory black. Terrifying still, were her slanted eyes. They captivated Thain the most, glowing a bright fiery red and entrancing him for what felt like an eternity until he forced himself to pull away.
Her presence drew a shriek from deep within his soul. It was a cry of absolute terror. His mind screamed for him to run away, but his legs could not move fast enough. The man tripped and stumbled over his own feet as he desperately tried to escape her glare. He collided with the tiled ground, clanging louder than pots and pans upon a kitchen floor. “Sorceress!” he accused. “Remove your dark magics and fight this battle with honor!”
“With honor?” she repeated, as if his statement was the most absurd demand she had ever been given. “With the honor you gave my Lady's husband? With the honor of a coward who uses poison and deceit? No, False King, I shall not give you this honor.” As her words grew more and more rigorous, she walked towards him- a slow pace, yet one that caused him to tremble within his suit. “Instead, let us rise above. We shall become what we truly are, fight with our most primal weaponry, and allow the victor to rise by their own strength- not the strength of a serpent's vile and a thief's dagger.” Vindicta looked to her Queen, the power in her voice fading, “Does her Majesty agree?”
“I agree,” Queen Elita accepted, laughing softly. Though her breathing became more and more labored, she looked far happier than any had seen her in months. “Fight with ancient honor, not this honor the new king has proposed to rise to the throne.” Her eyes shifted from the man who rose from the ground in shaking boots to her loyal champion. The creature showed so much pain- mental pain- a torment that she should never burden. “My Vindicta,” Queen Elita spoke in a much kinder, much softer tone, “I will be fine. This is what I want.”
Thain watched the exchange, his lips curling in frustration. “Has the Queen struck a pact with a sorceress? What has she promised you, Witch? Wealth? Acceptance among civilized man? Her kingdom?” He panted, the mix of fear and fury sending his senses on overload. He raised his blade to the leather-clad champion. “I will give you all this and more! I swear by my right as King of Hilenmar! Renounce your challenge and slay the Queen! You will be given more than she could ever give!”
“Will I?” Vindicta mocked, turning from her Lady, her hand resting on the blade in its scabbard. “You will give me your soul?” The color drained from Thain's face as total silence enveloped the room. Her quiet inquiry, such a sharp contrast from the terrified king's shouts, held captive the breaths of every onlooker. Unbothered by them, her red eyes settled solely on Thain as if she could see the fear that radiated from his trembling form. It drew a sadistic grin to the otherwise kind expression. “You were right in saying the Queen has promised me many things. I have asked her to relinquish her vows to me, but her lust to see you suffer at the hands of fate has far outweighed the costs.” Her hand tightened around the handle of the blade, invigorating the metal hidden within the sheath. It hummed in a terrifying, unsettling note, rivaling and deafening the song of the false king's. “You were wrong, however, as I am nothing so mundane as a sorceress,” the champion explained. “I am Vindicta!”
Her decree shook the walls of the hall, vibrating the perfectly aligned stones and crumbling the weaker corners. The stain glass began to split and splinter, crashing onto the marble floors. The screaming herd of patrons made for the doors behind them. To their utter horror, the mob could not pull back their heft. Trapped like flies in a web they once marveled, they turned their gaze to champion beneath the throne.
“My Queen!” cried Vindicta, her voice a trumpet that quaked the earth. “My Queen! May this be the day you find your peace! May I do great justice in your eyes! May today,” she paused, staring her beloved Lady in the eyes one final time, “we purge this world clean!”
Queen Elita watched her champion, her smile softening. How the months felt like years within her mind. How she had slipped so far. How she missed the warmth of Corrin- of living fully. It was a high price to pay, but she was more than ready to fulfill her end of the bargain. “Take my soul Vindicta, ancient and powerful Guardian. Manifest your presence here. Kill the False King. Cleanse this world again. So says the Queen.”
Over the screams of the nobles and ambassadors, Vindicta repeated, “So says the Queen.” Despite the definiteness of her actions, the champion had to avert her eyes from the dying woman upon the throne. Instead, she focused on Thain in front of her. Her anger welled within her chest. He was the reason she was there, the reason the Queen had been made to suffer so long. If she could imagine it was his soul, perhaps it would be alright. If she lied to herself long enough, she could delay the heavy burden of guilt. The man set in her sights, she drew the blade from the scabbard. Immediately, she felt a surge of energy humming through her blood and bones. Behind her, she heard the staff fall from her Lady's fingers.
“Demon!” Thain screamed, staring at the woman before him. “Slay it! Kill it! Defend your-” His demands of self-preservation were cut short by Vindicta's lunge. Her otherworldly speed placed her before the man before he could even react. Her blade buried itself deeply within his chest, piercing breastplate, mail, and flesh fully. The gasp that left his lips echoed in the voices of the terrified crowd. No one dared to help the dying man: not the soldiers who swore devotion to him, not the gold-hungry noblemen who he paid to keep quiet. Instead, he died alone, pierced by her blade.
“That isn't good enough,” demanded the creature. She drug the bleeding corpse to the center of the room, before gripping its throat. “Rise!” she demanded, her commanding presence shaking the Great Hall once again. Thain gasped as he awoke again, fighting to get to his feet. A thousand questions still buzzed in his mind, but before he could utter a single one, the champion struck him down again. New blood splattered in the faultless tiles, but she commanded again, “Rise!”
Each rise and fall of the false king forced screams and wails from the crowd. No longer could they find excitement in the chance of bloodbath. The cruelty was ripping their king into pieces, each death seeming more sinister than the last. “Rise!” the creature continued to demand. “Rise! Rise! Rise!” Her voice grew louder and louder, threatening to crumble the entire palace. Pieces of the painted ceiling began falling, littering the blood soaked ground with ancient artworks. “Rise!” Her cry for blood broke the chandeliers from the ceilings and sconces from the walls. No one was compelled to move. They feared far too greatly what the Queen had unleashed in her judgment.
“Enough!” The sobbing voice of Thain from the systematic demands of the Guardian before him. His armor no longer existed, cut to pieces by the blade that never dulled. His hung from its bones. He was no longer a man, but a mass of bloodied flesh. “Please,” he begged her, “please end this! Raise me no more! What shall I do to end this torment?”
His gurgled question drew a soft laugh from Vindicta's lips. She approached the man, taking from his neck the empty vile that he claimed as his most prized possession. From her lips dripped a thick black venom. It filled the vile to the brim. “Drink, False King. Feel the torment of Great King Corrin; feel the anguish of Great Queen Elita. I shall not raise you again.”
Thain took the vile with what little strength he possessed, sobbing as he drank down the Guardian's poison and waited for his inevitable final death. What was left of his body was unrecognizable. Her magic and vengeance held together most of the tissue and flesh he needed to be alive. It was not living, it was existing. The pains of the poison were nothing compared to the torture the demon had subjected him to. It was a relief to simply die.
“Here lies your false king!” The champion pointed her sword to the flesh on the floor, staring at the crowd of weeping nobles. “Do you not rejoice at the crowning of your new ruler? Is this not what you men longed after? A bloody defeat and the crowning of a new king?” Her mocking voice shook the Hall again. As another chandelier fell, rippling the blood on the floor and splattering it on the usually pristine walls, she declared, “You fickle men and your greedy hearts! You have forsaken our ancient rules of honor and have forgotten the humanity of your hearts! You can not be avenged, you can not be saved. You must simply be purged.”
At her words, the candle fires flared. The ancient magic began consuming the room, eating everything it could sink it's fiery jaws into. Instruments, curtains, banners, clothing; it all became fuel from the raging inferno. The screams of the dying and burning were a song in unison with her humming blade.
Fearing not the licking flames, the Guardian strode across the Hall towards the thrones. They were untouched by her magic, leaving her Priest and her dead Queen unblemished. Despite the look in the old man's eyes, he nodded to her, accepting what his ancient goddess had decided. “Find you now a new king. Fill his court with those who will respect our ways. Crown him in our name and warn him to follow our path, for I am Vindicta, Guardian of Sacred Pacts and Vengeance.” At his agreeance, she dismissed him, a wave of her hand sending him far from the burning palace and safely into her temple beyond.
Her eyes lingered on the dead queen. She still sat in her throne, watching the burning of the dying hypocrites beyond her. Despite how much pain she had been in- having to share her life and soul with the Guardian- she looked relieved. She smiled, a gentle curl of her lips that showed she was no longer in pain. She had died content. It still didn't feel right in Vindicta's stomach, however; it shouldn't have been her. A last kind gesture, the Queen's champion lifted her Lady off of the throne into her arms. With a simple nod of her head, they vanished to a land beyond.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Great Hall was loud with the chatter and laughter of a thousand men and women. Upon each of their heads sat a crown, identical in structure but jeweled in every different color. The Forever Sun shone through the open roof into the hall, reflecting off the jewels and coloring the skies in a rainbow of light. Each king and queen spoke with one another like they were the oldest of friends- none of them showing signs of sorrow or pain. Paradise, many described the Palace, absolute Paradise.
A knock at the door, silenced the chattering. Nervous, a woman peeked her head into the room staring at the multitude of eyes that greeted her. “Hello,” she announced herself quietly, her voice shaking ever so softly. “My name is-”
“Elita!” A voice cried from among the crowd. A man pushed and shoved his way to the front to reassure himself of his claim. He stopped as he finally laid eyes on the woman, his hands trembling as he reached out for her. “Elita? My love?”
The woman cried tears of joy as she came face to face with her Corrin again. She ran to him, hiking up her dress to avoid tripping until she was in his arms. The crowd erupted in cheers and chants as the two lovers were united once more. Elita wasn't afraid anymore. She wasn't angry. She was simply home.
“She isn't supposed to be here,” Uris muttered to her sister, as they watched from their thrones. “She gave her soul for vengeance, for your manifestation on the earth. Her soul belongs to you.”
“Indeed,” responded Vindicta, adjusting her crown and glancing at her waiting siblings. “This is where I want her soul to be. If it is my soul, I can do with it as I please.”
Orcus hummed, scratching his beard. “I'm not sure that is how mortal souls work, dear sister.”
“Hush,” Agape whispered to her children, watching the reunion unfold. “Let us enjoy this moment. Let us admire what the Queen has done for love.”