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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Amadea and the Divinity Blade - Chapter 20

Chapter 20

"Silence!" Amadea roared. It had been a week since her coronation, and she and Lillian had finally picked their advisors, with plenty of advice from Zephyr. However, their advisors had taken it upon themselves to argue with Amadea's plans. They felt it would be far more prudent for Amadea to remain safe in the palace, and allow the Empire's heroes to slay the monsters. That would eliminate the need for Lillian to be Sub-Regent.
"My decision is not going to be changed by your arguing, and I feel it would be far more productive to devise a strategy for dealing with these monsters!" Amadea added.
"Why don't we divide up the Imperial Army amongst the Kingdoms, and allow the individual rulers to deal with the infestation in their own lands. I'm sure with the added soldiers, they would be able to protect people far more effectively," Lillian suggested.
"That's actually a good idea," King Notus commented from the audience. This audience consisted of only the rulers of the individual Kingdoms. They all concurred with Notus.
"I agree," Amadea stated.
"But Sovereignty, what if we are attacked while the army is away?" An advisor protested.
"Of course, some of them will remain here," Amadea replied.
The advisors promptly began to argue for various different plans. Amadea allowed this to continue for a few minutes, then came to her feet.
"Silence! It is decided. Lillian, I would like you to work with the Imperial General and the Kingdoms' rulers to enact your plan. In the meantime, we will be preparing to depart."
She indicated for Zephyr, Zira, Luna, and Kyle to follow her. Luna and Kyle had been invited to listen to the meeting in case they had any ideas, but they had been far too nervous to contribute. It wasn't every day the average citizen was in the same room with all of the rulers in the Empire.
"Of course cousin," Lillian acknowledged.
Amadea left the room. Advisors were the people who did the bulk of the Emperor/ess' work, sparing him or her from 24-hour workdays, but they were a nuisance to someone who had gotten used to working as part of a smooth-as-clockwork team.
As soon as they were alone, Luna found the courage to say something. "If you were just going to pass your duties onto your cousin, why did the Gods choose you instead of her?"
Amadea chuckled.
Zira launched into teacher mode. "The Gods choose someone for various reasons. Many times they will choose someone who can fulfill an important task. I believe that they choose Amadea rather than Lillian because she is the only one who can protect the Empire."
"That may be true, but that makes her best suited to be a hero of the Empire, not the ruler," Luna pointed out.
"You're forgetting that if Amadea does survive the upcoming year, she will have plenty of time to be a good ruler," Zira countered. "You cannot judge a ruler by their first actions as ruler alone; you must take all of their actions during their reign into account. Maybe the Gods see Amadea as the best ruler in the long run, and maybe..." Zira paused to lightly push on Luna's nose. "They see things, and know things you do not."
"Zira," Luna growled, trying to zap the offending finger. She did not like being teased.
"I don't know why they chose me either, but I am grateful that they found me worthy," Amadea acknowledged. "But let's not talk about it anymore. I am far too anxious to get out of the palace."

*******

"As far as we can tell, there were thirteen lesser doorways letting hordes of monsters into the empire," Zephyr explained to Luna and Kyle. "So far, we've closed seven of them." He showed them the map that had the approximate whereabouts of all the doorways on it, and pointed out the seven that had been closed.
"Question," Kyle raised his hand slightly. "Why do you call them lesser doorways?"
"Because they are not as big or as powerful as the one that was opened to release the source of all evil from his eternal prison," Zira explained.
Kyle flinched. He hadn't been present when Zira had explained all of that to her sister. "Was opened?"
"Yes, but don't worry, I closed it again, with help," Zira informed him.
"Anyway, Lillian has a copy of this map, and she promised to make all of the rulers send the bulk of the Imperial troops to fortify these areas. They can't close the doorways, so far as we know, but they can hopefully keep the monsters from killing too many citizens before we arrive," Zephyr finished his explanation.
"If no one else can close the lesser doorways, why can we?" Luna wondered.
"The Gods gave me a spell to do so," Amadea answered.
The travelers were taking a break to eat dinner at an eatery. Amadea ate plate after plate of gravlox, a delicious fermented raw fish product. This eatery specialized in various dishes of lake fish from the huge lake they were built near.
Zephyr, Luna and Kyle had all opted for the fish stew with sides of pickled vegetables. They were all building up their energy reserves before they arrived at the nearby doorway.
Amadea pushed away her last plate, finally full, and sighed. "Are we ready then?"
They arrived at a scene of chaos about a half an hour later. Enough time had passed since the doorways first appeared to allow the monsters to spread far and wide, so just seeing a horde of monsters was no guarantee that they were near a doorway. They flew over the area a few times, looking for what appeared to be a large hole in the ground.
"I see it!" Luna pointed. Again, she was riding with Zephyr. This was out of respect for the flying horses since Kyle weighed almost as much as Zephyr, and Luna was almost the same as Amadea. Riding this way balanced their weights as much as possible.
Both horses changed course to fly over the "hole." Amadea carefully stood atop her horse and chanted the spell. It was long, and took her almost a minute. The "hole" disappeared with a sound that was felt more than heard.
She surveyed the havoc and noticed that a taurman had a woman over his shoulder. Since it was still a week before the full moon, he was probably bringing her to his lair to wait until it was time to mate. Amadea leaped off of Cumulus, and angled her free fall to take her to the taurman. If she angled herself just right, she would be able to kill him without hurting his victim, but if she couldn't, she would be able to land behind him and take him by surprise.
Kyle lurched to grab onto her, but wasn't able to catch her before she was out of reach. The horse immediately decided to take him elsewhere.
"It's not my fault if she dies!" He cried out to Zephyr in near panic.
"She does that, you'll get used to it. Just be thankful she stopped giving righteous speeches before she attacks!" Zephyr joked.
Kyle muttered "Huh?" in confusion, and Zira laughed.
"She used to be very, 'I'm the defender of truth and justice, change your evil ways or I shall punish thee.' She gave up on that after realizing that it was far more effective to just kill the monster and move onto the next one," Zira explained.
"Oh," Kyle muttered. He was still somewhat creeped-out by Zira talking to him even though she had faded out to practically nothing to ride between the two of them.
Cumulus brought Kyle to an area where he could dismount safely and engage the enemy, startling some townsmen who were trying to defend their little town in the process. The horse hovered a foot off the ground, and snorted impatiently. Kyle wasn't about to jump, and told the horse to land. Cumulus responded by forcibly shaking the man off her back, then took off to keep an eye on her mistress.
Kyle grumbled, rubbed his backside, stood, and engaged the nearest monster. He easily killed the imp, and was distracted by Luna's voice.
"Lightning!" Luna called over and over, sending bolts of the deadly energy into a pack of demon wolves. She was still atop Cirrus. So was Zephyr, only he was shooting monster after monster with arrows from a bow that looked as if it were made out of glowing red string. Kyle felt a little perturbed, is everyone better than me? He suddenly recalled that he was in the middle of an attack, and ducked to avoid a blow.
Ten monster deaths later, he felt a little better. He may not be as good as his companions, but he was better than the townsmen, who were still struggling to dispatch the third monster Kyle had watched them go up against. Amadea appeared seemingly out of nowhere, a woman over her shoulder.
She set the woman down gently, and turned to face the crowd of demon animals that had followed her. She finished chanting at the same time, and announced, "Purify!" She immediately began chanting again, then shouted, "Banishment." She explained to Kyle later that she had sent the now innocent demon animals to an environment better suited to their needs.
The townsmen glanced at Amadea in astonishment for she had removed about half of their enemies in less than a minute. She ignored their awe, and took a moment to rest. A troll took them by surprise. The townsmen uttered cries of despair since they still had their hands full trying to defeat a demon that resembled an ugly woman, but fed off of humans by touching them.
Amadea decided to copy Zephyr, and test just how powerful a spirit arrow shot by her Divinity Blade was against a troll. Kyle decided that since he needed to catch his breath, he would take a moment to watch how Amadea handled this new monster. He saw her stand and pretend to aim a bow. Ah, must be a spirit arrow spell, he thought. To his amazement, a real bow actually appeared in her hands.
"Spirit arrow!" She released the spell, watched the troll blow up, then turned her attention to the ugly female demon. She tapped her foot in thought a moment, then uttered "Aha! Townsmen, fall back!"
The townsmen complied, confusing the demon as they did so. She cocked her head to the side and wondered why her prey had suddenly left her. The men looked to Amadea for their next orders. They had seen enough to know that she outranked them in ability, and power.
"Rage, Anger! Come!"
Kyle shuddered, already knowing that two blood red dogs were about to emerge from the Empress' shadow.
"Attack the she-demon!" Amadea ordered. The dogs happily complied, reducing their prey to tattered remnants in a matter of moments. Meanwhile, Amadea began to order the townsmen about, organizing a tighter defense.
"Kyle, behind you!" She called out.
Kyle had gotten so caught up in everything that was going on around him that he had forgotten to guard himself. Stupid, stupid rookie mistake! Kyle berated himself as he easily killed the attacking monster. Next, he heard Miss Luna scream, and saw her flying at him!
             He stepped in her path to catch her, but was completely unprepared for the force of her impact. The two of them went tumbling over each other for a few feet, and finally landed with Luna atop Kyle.

Go To Chapter 21 

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