The story was written by Lorreta Marchize.
“In the Golden Summer the Throne of Swords shall be lost, the Crown of light shall be found.” They read it every year, in secret of course, and without Our High King Reginald knowing. I do think we could just call him ‘The King’ or ‘Reginald’, but no we must call him Our High King. Perhaps that has something to do with why we don’t like him? Or did, I should say. But that is not the beginning, no far from it. That is the middle. It all began a hundred years ago, long before I was born. Of course, I know the story by heart. We all must know it. It is in the rules. I do believe it’s rule number ten “At all times must citizens over the age of nine must be able to recite the High King Reginald’s greatest victory: The Ruby Palace victory.” But that is not important. A hundred years ago the world was dark and gloomy. (It still is, if I may say so.) They say the gloom was brought on by the war. The war was with Reginald. Back then he was just Reginald. Well, it was his father, not him. Or his grandfather. We lost track of them. Reginald of long ago was at war with the Ruby Palace’s king: Kind Edward. But he insisted we call him Edward. Long story short: Edward lost the battle because the queen betrayed him. It turns out she was one of the Forbidden. Evil creatures, really. And they live for thousands of years, so she is still the Queen.
“Lexi, please remember to dust.”
“I will be addressed as Queen or Your Majesty nothing else! Do you understand? Lexi!”
“Yes, Your Majesty! Of course.” I sigh. Queen Tanta Ton-ell is very demanding, I should know. I’m her personal slave.
“The world, The world completely under control of Our High King Reginald and Our Beautiful Queen Tanta Tonell.” I was passing the jester, singing a song of ruin, the story of how Reginald destroyed the World Of Light and turned it to Forlasea. Forlasea, the land of ruin. And the Ruby Palace. A messenger runs in, marked by his yellow cloak. He falls at the feet of king Reginald, panting for breath.
“The Ice is advancing, King Reginald.” The room freezes. The ice is advancing… again? It has advanced every year since the great Victory of King Reginald. They say it is 60% of the world, at least the learned men do. None of us worry about numbers, just the crops.
“It has hit the ruins of Parry tower already.” The messenger gasps out this final scrap of news, before collapsing. Reginald turns tersely and scans the room.
“Someone must venture out and fix this! It must be a decedent from Edward’s line, who here is decedent from Edward?” I gasped. It’s me, I’m the only remaining decedent because Queen Tanta requested a slave and they brought me.
“My slave girl is.” Queen Tanta gracefully pointed at me with an accusing finger, all heads swiveled my direction.
“Lexi! You must go on this journey, find the ruins of Parry, or the ice. Whichever comes first.”
“No, please! I’m a simple slave! I do not have the skills required!” They can’t send me, it’s the Golden Summer! I’m supposed to be here, celebrating some hero who saves us from Reginald. I’m not supposed to be venturing out into the unknown, like the professed hero myself.
“You have no choice. Leave tomorrow, gather supplies today.” Well, none can disobey the King Reginald. Sighing, I picked up my duster and deposited it in the bin as I left. I suppose I had to go get the Grand Wizard- even if he’s really old. And Lady Erra- they say she still remembers her adventuring days. They lived right next to each other, which was good. I trudged down the path, it’s only a short distance from the palace to the Wizard’s house- he is the royal Wizard. I reached the house shortly, and prepared to go up the path when I noticed two people sitting there. One was the Wizard, the other was Lady Erra. And they where arguing.
“Lady Erra? Grand Wizard? The ice is advancing and they need to stop it.” They both turned to me in surprise. “I need your help. I’m no adventurer, and you two are famous for working together.
“Bah! Us work together? No more!” The Wizard shaked his head and banged his staff, but Lady Erra was gentler.
“I am old, you are much more of an adventurer. Truly, you can do it yourself. Besides, we don’t work together much anymore.” She smiled sadly and casted a glance at the Wizard.
“But I can’t do this, I need you!”
“We don’t work. Not anymore.” I sighed a frustrated sigh, how could I do it without them?
“But….” Lady Erra paused and stared for a long time at nothing. “Listen, instead of the ice, try to defeat Reginald. Remember the prophecy?”
“Of course, In the Golden Summer the Throne of Swords shall be lost, the Crown of light shall be found.” I smiled, that is one thing I thought I knew.
“But that is not the whole prophecy. No, it is much more than that. ‘A young lass shall save us all, in the Golden Summer the Throne of Swords shall be lost, the Crown of light shall be found. A army is not needed, but a heart of stone.’ I should know, my dear, because I was the one who received it.” Lady Erra stopped and gently pushed me forwards.
“This is your battle. So fight it.” She and the Wizard both left, her to her house, his to his house. It was a silly decision on her part, I was young. I decided to fake leaving, which didn’t work at all….
That’s how I got here, three days later, I’m sitting in the throne room. My plan failed, but I need not tell you that. There are two guards, both stone faced. I twist around, trying to loosen the bonds, but one turns to me in disgust.
“We will kill if needed.” He says it loud enough that the whole courtroom hears, and King Reginald gasps.
“No! Don’t kill beautiful Lexi!” King Reginald looks near panic, but the Queen merely stares. We all stare, why does he call me beautiful?
“Beautiful. Her? Ha, only I, and I alone, am beautiful.” Queen Tanta smiles a truly sickening smile and leans back. “Besides, I’m your one true love.”
“Er, yes.” King Reginald looks dutifly confused, until Queen Tanta signals that I be killed.
“No, please Tanta!” Reginald throws himself at her feet, begging for mercy. But the rest of us know better, the Forbidden, Tanta among them, do not dole out mercy.
“You mean you do love someone better than I? How dare you, Reginald. I shall have to kill you.” We all gasp, if Reginald dies he will be childless and Tanta will become sole ruler…. forever. If not, Tanta can die because she is married to a human.
“Yes! Yes. Kill me. Devoid me of my pain!” Reginald sobs and whithers at her feet, but she only grimaces.
“Of course.” Tanta unsheathes a knife and I gasp. She can’t kill Reginald!
“Kill me, if only you spare Lexi!” I shake my head in disbelief. He is willing to die for unimportant me?
“No, Reginald!” I cry out, surprising even myself. “If you die I will simply die to, do not let Tana kill you! You can do better than Tanta! Please! Do not let her kill you, for I will die also.”
“Lexi, my dear,” I shudder at being called ‘my dear’ but continue to listen “While Tanta lives I cannot be free. Unless I die.”
“Do you not know, Reginald, that you are the only person tying Tanta to the human world? If you die she will live forever! Please, Reginald, do not let her kill you! You can be the hero!” The prophecy flashes in my mind, and I smile. “Lose your Throne of Swords! That’s what your throne is, a powerful but sharp one. Find your Crown of Light, an everlasting throne, a throne of power, and of comfort! Be the hero of this tale, Reginald.”
“I am the villain, I now see that, not the hero.” He turns to Tanta, who laughs triumphantly.
“No! Please, for me?” My eyes search Reginald’s, sadness, grief and pain all clearly show. “You are the hero.” He smiles softly and turns to Tanta.
“For Lexi. If only for her.” Reginald throws himself at Tanta and, being the only one who can overpower her, quickly wrestles her to the ground. Tanta shrieks in rage, clawing and spitting. But if a Forbidden marries a human, the human can always overpower the Forbidden. So Reginald defeats Tanta, but not before being brutally wounded.
“I’m going to die, Lexi.” I kneel over him. Even if he was the villain, he did the right thing. Sometimes the right thing is the hardest thing. “It’s better this way, Lexi. I love you as a Father, and I’m afraid you could never see me as a Father.”
“A father? I see you as a father. I never knew mine, you know.”
“I know. Tanta killed him and stole you.”
“Really? I never knew what happened. I will always see you as a father, Reginald.”
“And I will forever see you as a daughter, Lexi.” His words are faint, and with a final breath he passes from the world, as a villain, a father and a king. But mostly, a hero. Always a hero. And so, the world moves on. The villain dies a hero, the Queen a villain. The family-less daughter, with a family. With a kingdom. (For she was to be the Queen, Tanta never had a child.)