The Queens Consort
I stand amongst the carnage that surrounds me. I am silent as I gaze at the wreckage around me, blood dripping from my wounds, from my weapons, gushing from the corpses that litter the field and town and destroyed buildings and layer the streets. It has been a slaughter.
And I loved it, every minute, hour, day. I love the yelling and shouting, the screams of the injured, the groans of the dieing, the sounds of steel clashing against steel, the quick draw of sword against sheath, the thunks of arrows finding their marks, embedded deep in the flesh of the enemy. I love the smells of smoke and sweat and blood and fire, love the battle cries and curses and grunts of man pitted against man, locked in the primeval struggle for power and survival and supremacy. I love the fury of a burning inferno, the flash of metal flying through the air, the fleeting glimpse of an arrow, the screams of soldiers and civilians alike, caught in a hell from which there is no escape except that of death.
I wend my way through the butchery, grinding my heels into exposed flesh, so soft and yielding to my steel shod feet, raucous laughter spilling from my lips when I step on the living and elicit a scream of pain. I have no pity for the weak, the fallen in battle, those who cannot defend their own skin, those who do not pay attention to the chaos around them
they are weak.
I weave my way though the pitted and smoke scarred buildings, smiling so distortedly at the fitfully burning remains of a once great city that it was more akin to a grimace. Smoke stings my eyes; tears well up and I dash them away with a deeply cut hand, replacing salted water with metallic blood. What a vision I must be to all who look upon me: clothed in rent rags, armored in dented steel, weapon in hand, bits of metal gleaming about my body, gashed and drenched with blood, with tears of the stuff making crimson paths through the grime on my face. A warrior, a goddess of combat, an angel of death. I am the devils best employer, the soldiers fearless leader, the enemys greatest fear.
In this world of mine, this harsh and brutal reality, races kill sub races, tribes eradicate ancient foes, allies turn against each other. Genocide is a common happening; destruction is the pursuit of many. Blood is the currency of the realm; fortunes are given for the spilling of it and battles are waged at a drop of it.
I have carved a bloody, corpse filled swath through the thousands of petty warlords, ruthless conquerors, crusading kings. I have crushed their resistance, burnt their cities, massacred their troops. I am exterminating any and all adversaries, and their clans and children and brothers and closest friends and successors, killing my way to the top of a feeble and cowed world.
I shall be a queen.
From humbler beginnings I could not have risen. Bastard love child of a slave and master, sold as a slave to a heartless captain in a feared army. Beaten within an inch of my death for the slightest incompetence, taught to read and write and fight for my life. The pupil surpassed the instructor, and now that instructors beheaded carcass lies decaying, staked to the ground outside his tent. His fellows decorate their hearths in a similar manner, a lesson ingrained in every one of my soldiers brains for the rest of their short lives.
And so I have embarked upon a quest for world conquest, a detached, indefinite dream for many, an impossibility for all. All, save one: myself. I alone shall stand atop the shoulders of civilization and be crowned the master of them all. My reign shall be long, my rule shall be absolute. My crown shall be made from the bones of my adversaries. My royal personage shall be clothed in their flesh, and their hair shall fringe my robes. I shall be wreathed in royal purple, and all and sundry will bow in fear.
In my musings, I have unknowingly wandered deep into the dank heart of this devastated city. My feet have led me to a temple, pillaged by my greedy soldiers. I stroll inside, uncaring for possible assassins, unconcerned for my wounds, unhurried in my pace. The aftertaste of battle, of rending limbs from bodies, of splashing blood and worse upon the pavement is an aphrodisiac to me: the high makes me giddy for long afterwards.
Slain priests and townspeople lay sprawled in their own fluids. Whole families have been butchered; they lie in heaps, forever embracing in death. Oh! the foolishness of religious sanctuary! That I, a malicious, callous killer would feel mercy for the brainless idiots who flock to the allure of any god is ludicrous! There are no gods in this place, save that of death and war. Divinity is achieved by those who wrest it from the grasp of the universe. I, a warrior, shall attain divinity in this world when I have conquered it; I have touched it already.
There is a small child weeping over the gutted carcass of he father. She looks up at the sound of my footfalls. I stop a few feet from her and her deceased sire. We stare at each other. My wounds ooze blood, which trickles to the already saturated temple floor. My weapon hangs limply from my uninjured hand. I am still grimacing my merriment.
I chuckle at her anguish and she wails anew. It is a heart wrenching sound, even to my merciless heart. I look away from the strength of her misery; I am abashed at my sick pleasure. And then I am angered by my own pity. Why should I feel anything for this child, this spawn of my slain foe? Yet I do.
My father is dead as well.
He was not killed in glorious battle; he was not taken naturally through old age or illness. He died squealing like the pig he was, on his knees, begging for clemency, forgiveness for his lewd habits and disgusting life. And I obliged. I knelt beside him, saw the raw terror in his eyes just inches from my own. I forgave him, told him I was past my wrath. I slit his throat as well. His expressions, changing from relief at amnesty to incredulity at the rip of his jugular, were exaggerated and comical. It was beautiful to behold. My mother, too, was dead, by my hand, as were anyone else who made public their knowledge of my childhood.
I feel an affinity for this offspring of my adversary. I want to nurture her, train her to be strong and independent, unattached to sentient beings. I shall be the teacher she has lacked, the trainer she shall need, the mother she has lost, the lover she will yearn for. She shall be my prodigy, my heir after I have become vulnerable.
Thus decided, I move swiftly toward her. She is too lost in sorrow to notice, or perhaps too desolate to care. Will she ever grieve for me this way? I doubt it. Doubtless she shall be the cause of my demise and decent into hell. I grieved, in a way, when I murdered my master. Perchance the slaves bond to her owner breeds more than just hatred, but a peculiar form of love as well.
This child shall love me, and I shall love her. I will be queen and she will be consort. One day she shall be queen and I shall be corpse.