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  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
    ObicanDecko
  • Author
  • 3,503 Words
  • 1,882 Views
  • 11 Comments

Fairyfly - 20. Queen of Alduin

After a long journey, it is time we say goodbye to Esthor, Rulf and their friends (and enemies).

After a moment of silence, Rulf and Esthor looked up, their eyes meeting Norius’. Nervous and terrified, the king tried to step back, wanting to run away, however foolish an idea it seemed to him. However, he froze when he felt a sharp blade pressed against his throat.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Olivia asked, finally showing herself.

“You…” King Norius whispered, not daring to move a finger.

“Nice to see you again. And thanks for the crown,” the Shade chirped, winking at Esthor and Rulf.

“What are you going to do to me?” the king asked, looking at the sorcerer and the magic scepter in his hand. The crystals on its tip started to glow white.

“Let me think… What do you think I should do?” the sorcerer asked, taking a few steps toward him.

“Please, have mercy.”

“Mercy?! Like the mercy you showed me? Look at what happened because of you!” Esthor raised his voice, pointing to the dead bodies lying around them. “This will end now!”

“I will do whatever you want,” Norius pleaded, falling on his knees in front of the sorcerer.

How sad and pathetic does he look right now, Esthor thought. A far cry from the once proud and mighty King of Alduin. To think I once used to have such respect for the man. Look at him now, begging for his life like a coward.

Finally, the sorcerer nodded and waved his scepter. The king gasped, expecting a fatal blow that would kill him, but nothing happened. He was still alive. Instead, the five remaining sorcerers unfroze, looking wildly around themselves, wondering what had happened. With another swipe of Esthor’s scepter, their magic wands turned into snakes. As the men quickly dropped them in panic, the reptiles harmlessly slithered away into the grass.

“Consider yourselves lucky. Now leave!” Esthor ordered before looking down at the king again. “I have conditions. Firstly, you will release all the people you have arrested for using magic. Secondly, you will abolish your ridiculous proclamation against the use of magic in the kingdom. And thirdly, you will publically proclaim that the Lykos be treated equally as everyone else and that they can live in the capital if they desire.”

“It shall be done,” the king nodded. Even though he fought hard not to tremble and show fear, his eyes betrayed him.

“You have until tomorrow, or I shall visit you again… for the last time,” Esthor replied before turning to walk away, accompanied by Rulf and Olivia.

“Last time for you, perhaps,” Norius muttered.

Consumed by rage, he picked himself up and grabbed his massive hammer. He had to make the cursed sorcerer pay for his actions if it’s the last thing he did. Only then would he be able to rule his kingdom in peace. Fueled by hatred, the king ran toward Esthor, swinging his hammer, ready to deal the fatal blow.

“Look out!” Rulf exclaimed as he saw the crazed king approaching them.

Swiftly turning around, Esthor raised his scepter, aiming it at Norius. A bright white beam shot out of it, hitting the king directly in the chest and knocking him back. With a loud thud, he fell down unconscious, dropping his weapon beside him.

“Idiot,” Esthor mumbled as he approached the king.

“Is he dead?” Rulf asked, putting an arm around the sorcerer’s waist.

“No, I will not grant him that mercy. He will pay for everything he did,” Esthor replied and pointed his scepter at the king’s head. He closed his eyes and muttered an incantation, as the crystals on its tip suddenly turned an ominous shade of black.

“There,” he said with a smirk as he finished his spell on the king.

“Why do I have a feeling this is not as simple as it looks like?” Olivia asked, halfway between amused and puzzled.

“Of course it’s not. I am giving him a taste of his own medicine,” the sorcerer smiled, turning toward his man.

Rulf automatically opened his arms, enveloping Esthor in a warm hug. It felt like ages since the last time he held his beloved sorcerer in his arms, felt his skin on his own and inhaled his enchanting scent.

Esthor squeezed him tightly, as if to make sure the Lykos was really there, not just a dream or a fantasy. They were finally together, which was all he wanted, and it felt even better than he remembered it. Rulf’s face, his auburn locks, his smell… everything about him was perfect.

“I was so scared… when I heard they caught you,” Esthor whispered, looking him in the eyes.

“I kept thinking I would never see you again,” Rulf replied, his eyes welling with tears. “That’s what scared me the most.”

“That’s over now. We’re here, together.” Leaning in, Esthor closed his eyes and pressed his lips against Rulf’s. Soft and delicious, they were giving him life and energy, like an eternal fountain he could drink from every day. Forgetting the world around them, they deepened the kiss and started moaning, before being interrupted.

“Ahem,” Olivia coughed, standing further away. Chuckling, the two men broke their kiss and smiled at each other.

“So, do we have anything else to do around here?” the Shade asked.

“Yes. Let’s go and release the people that were arrested,” Esthor replied, taking Rulf by the hand and heading to the castle, followed by Olivia.

The sky began to clear up once again, as the eclipse caused by Khalgos’ ancient magic started to vanish. As the trio entered the castle, everyone stayed out of their way. Guards, sorcerers, common workers – everyone observed them from a distance, with a mixture of fear and uncertainty, but no one dared to come close.

After they left the dungeons, having freed the people who were unjustly captured and imprisoned, Esthor, Rulf and Liv saw a single person waiting for them. Standing in the middle of the grand hall was Queen Loreena herself. As she looked up, her eyes met Esthor’s. It was not a look of anger or hatred, but rather – sadness.

Realizing this was the first time he saw the queen after Arabella’s death, Esthor suddenly felt a wave of guilt and shame washing over him. He never even apologized to her or the two princesses for his involvement.

“Your Majesty,” he finally spoke, trying to maintain eye contact as difficult as it was. “I am truly sorry for what happened to Princess Arabella. I regret-“

“Thank you,” Loreena replied politely, interrupting him. “The monster who is to blame is now gone,” she added, having heard about Fendrel’s fate from the royal sorcerers. “We bear no grudge against you, I assure you. I only ask that you spare my husband.”

“The king is unconscious for now. I suggest you make… special arrangements for him due to his condition,” Esthor explained, ignoring the confusion on the queen’s face. She’ll understand everything soon enough. “Bear in mind that it is not permanent and will disappear when or if he shows remorse for his actions.”

Queen Loreena merely nodded. She did not believe her husband would change, but only time would tell.

“As for the commander… I hope you choose a better one next time,” Esthor added. “And Your Majesty, thank you. I truly am sorry for everything.”

“I believe you. Bella’s death is something that will always hurt immensely, but I cannot let vengeance consume me like it has my husband. I will rather focus on being a mother to my two beautiful girls and being the Queen to the people of Alduin.”

“I’m happy to hear that,” Esthor said. With a bow, the three of them excused themselves and left.

~~

Waking up in his bed, King Norius felt disoriented. His head was heavy and aching, as if a herd of wild horses ran over it. He started to remember what happened. The fight with Esthor. Zane was dead. That beast, it broke out of the cage. The sky turned dark. So dark…

As he fully came to his senses, he tried to open his eyes, but was met with complete darkness. Whichever way he turned – nothing! Not even a tiny glimmer of light. Only the endless black void.

His mouth fell open as he tried to catch a breath. This cannot be!

“Gods, what is happening?” he whispered in panic, scrambling to his feet. “I’m blind! I can’t see!” the king shouted desperately, his fingers running all over his face.

It was only then that he noticed something, causing him to stop. He wasn’t blind. With his fingers, he could clearly feel some kind of fabric tightly wrapped around his eyes.

“What in the name of…” he muttered as he struggled to remove the blindfold, but it was in vain. No matter how much he tried to untie or rip it off, it would not come off.

“Loreena! Where are you, woman?!” he shouted, the feeling of panic once again beginning to rise inside him.

The queen had barely entered the room when Norius began flailing his arms about, trying to reach her.

“Loreena, is that you?”

“Yes, it’s me,” the queen took him by the hands, trying to steady him. “Calm down.”

“Who did this? What kind of a joke is this?! It won’t come off!” the king hollered in anger and panic.

“Let me see,” Loreena said, trying to pull the blindfold off. Just as she suspected, it wouldn’t move an inch. Unlike her husband, she immediately realized what was happening.

Esthor’s punishment.

“Take it off, what are you waiting for?!” Norius ordered, getting more impatient by the minute.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know how. It just won’t come off.”

“Then get a knife and cut it off!”

Taking a dagger from the top drawer of a nearby cabinet, the queen held it in her hand as she approached her husband.

It would be so easy to finish this right now. Just one quick stab, and…

No. She stopped herself, sitting on the bed next to him. She couldn’t bring herself to do it. Perhaps Norius was no longer the same man that she married, no longer the same king and father, but that did not mean she could become a murderer. That was something she could never do.

“Well, what are you waiting for, woman?! Do I have to do everything? Give me that!” the king said, raising his voice.

With a sigh, the queen placed the dagger in his hand and watched as he struggled to cut the blindfold. Amazingly, the shiny black fabric did not tear even a bit.

After several futile attempts that only served to increase his frustration, the king threw the dagger across the room in a fit of rage. Startled, Loreena almost jumped up from the bed.

“This is a work of that bloody wizard! It must be!” Norius raged as his chest rapidly rose and fell. All red in the face, he was sweating profusely, but he refused to give up. “Take me to my sorcerers, they must know how to fix this!”

As the queen led her husband down the hallway, she realized something – Esthor’s hopes were in vain. Norius would never show remorse or atone for his actions. The hatred was so deeply rooted inside of him, consuming his mind and soul.

With a heavy heart, Loreena led him quietly to the most remote part of the castle until they reached the very last chamber on the basement level. Sitting her husband on the bed, the queen silently left the room, locking the door behind her and taking the key.

“Loreena! What the hell are you doing? Let me out at once! I am your king!” Norius’ muffled voice came from the other side, as he started banging on the door.

“I’m sorry. I’ll come by later to bring you food,” she said before climbing up the stairs, leaving him alone in the dark.

~~

Murmurs of the crowd spread throughout the grand hall. Lords and ladies of the court, clergy members and other distinguished citizens gathered at the castle. However, no one knew what the occasion was. Even Esthor and Rulf, who stood in the back and observed everything, wondered the reason for being invited.

Noticing Rulf observing everything around him wide-eyed and impressed, Esthor couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped his lips. The Lykos was clearly impressed with the ceremony – two dozens of royal guards, all dressed in identical uniforms, marched through the hall. Half of them stood outside, while the other half remained inside, lined up against one of the walls. Musicians stood in one corner of the room, preparing to play some music.

“What? This is the first time I’ve been to the castle… As a guest, I mean,” Rulf shrugged, staring at Esthor’s azure eyes. He still wasn’t used to seeing him like that, even more beautiful than before.

“I know. I wonder why we were invited,” Esthor mused.

“After what happened, who knows what we can expect.”

“I agree. But whatever it is, I believe it will be good,” the sorcerer nodded with a smile on his face.

Although Queen Loreena had only invited the two of them, along with Khalgos and Pepin, they took the liberty of bringing all of their friends along. Even Jonah decided to come, which greatly pleased Huck. The young man immediately waved the blacksmith over to come stand next to him, hoping to get to know him better. Besides, it wasn’t as if Terryn would miss him – he was too busy talking to Olivia and Tristan. This was the little boy’s first trip to the capital city of Thenelle and everything fascinated him. When he was told he’d be going to the royal castle, he squealed with happiness, to the immense joy of Olivia. That was the happiest she had ever seen her little brother ever since Esthor conjured him a bag full of books to add to his collection.

A short while later, as the sounds of the royal hymn of Alduin filled the grand hall, the crowd went silent. A door at the other end of the hall opened and all heads turned that way, expecting to see the king and the queen. However, as soon as Queen Loreena passed through the door alone, soon followed by her two daughters, it became clear people were confused, whispering to each other.

“There’s no Norius,” Rulf whispered in Esthor’s ear.

“Are you surprised?” Esthor replied, raising an eyebrow. Seeing the king would have been the biggest shock for him at that moment.

Dressed in a golden-burgundy dress – the traditional colors of Alduin – the queen climbed the few stairs to the throne and took her seat. Princesses Ariana and Amelia sat in their spots beside her. As the music ended, the queen stood up and the crowd went silent again.

“Beloved citizens of Alduin,” she spoke in a clear, imposing tone. “I wish to thank you all for coming. I know you must be wondering why I have gathered you here today, and it is time I make my announcement. As a matter of fact, I have several of them to make, and not all of them are pleasant.

Firstly, as you have noticed, my husband Norius, your king, is not with us today. Unfortunately, he has fallen ill and his condition has lately been rapidly deteriorating. He is now confined to his bed and I kindly ask you to extend your prayers to him.”

With a sigh, the queen took a break to gather her thoughts as the crowd stood silent, all eyes on her.

“That brings me to my following announcement. In light of my husband’s decaying health, as of this day, I shall be taking over his duties as the ruler of our glorious nation.”

Not without a few gasps and whispers from the crowd, the queen knelt down on the ground as the Archpriest of Alduin approached her, carrying King Norius’ golden crown in his hands. As he came before the queen, he stopped and slowly placed the crown on her head.

What were merely a few weak handclaps in the beginning, quickly turned into loud cheers throughout the entire hall. As their eyes met, Esthor and Khalgos nodded at each other knowingly.

“Well done,” Khalgos mouthed, drawing a smile from his former student. The master could not deny how proud he was of everything that Esthor achieved, and he was only just beginning.

Returning to her throne, Queen Loreena continued her speech.

“As the Queen of Alduin, I vow to serve my people and rule this queendom justly and honorably. May this change usher in a new era of prosperity for our nation. After all, the entire continent of Ytia is ruled by women. Who’s to say we cannot follow their example?

Unfortunately, due to his deteriorating mental health, my husband recently made a rather unfortunate proclamation which I shall now rectify. I hereby proclaim that magic can once again be freely used by anyone in our queendom, so long as it is not in malicious purposes.”

As the queen’s eyes fell upon Esthor’s, he nodded in appreciation of her gesture. An almost invisible smile appeared on her lips as she waited for the crowd’s reactions to subside.

“Finally, I wish to take this opportunity to make one last proclamation. As I believe all citizens in our nation should be treated equally, I wish to remedy the injustice that was made upon the Lykos people many decades ago. As of today, they shall be free to live in our capital city and wherever else they please, and shall enjoy the same rights as everyone else.”

Putting an arm around Rulf, Esthor pulled him closer and kissed him on the cheek.

Touched by the queen’s announcement, Rulf felt his eyes welling up. He knew it would take a while for people to forgo their prejudice and irrational fear of the Lykos, but this proclamation was a brilliant start. Coming from the queen herself, it held even more weight.

As the ceremony drew to a close, people congratulated the queen and slowly started dispersing. After stealing a moment to thank Queen Loreena, the two young men left the castle together with their friends.

“So, what is next in the cards for you two?” Rulf asked, looking at Prince Terryn and Huck.

“I think I’ll stay here for a while,” Huck smiled, glancing at Jonah, the blacksmith. “I rather like it here.”

“Yes, he’s leaving me,” Terryn replied, pretending to be hurt. “Now I have to go back to Thorodan alone. Unless maybe you accompany me?” he asked, looking at Olivia and her brother. “What do you say, Tristan, would you like to visit my castle?”

“Can we really?!” the boy exclaimed, looking at his sister in eager anticipation.

“Maybe one day,” Olivia said, gently stroking her brother’s hair. “Right now, I just want us to take a break from all the travelling and fighting.”

“You’re more than welcome to stay with me until you decide to go back home,” Khalgos offered. Even though he had lived alone most of his life, with his pet crow as his only companion, he had come to like having company.

“Thank you for the offer, we shall take you up on it,” the Shade smiled kindly at the old sorcerer.

As the group scattered, everyone going their own way, Esthor and Rulf were alone once again, strolling toward Esthor’s home.

“Look at you,” the Lykos spoke softly, brushing his fingers gently against Esthor’s cheek. “You know, I still can’t get over your eyes. They look magnificent.”

“Thank you, I conjured them myself,” Esthor smirked, flattered by his love’s compliment. “Although Khalgos did help.”

“It’s nice to see you smile again,” Rulf said. After all the drama, maybe now they would finally get a chance to just be happy.

“You too, my love,” the sorcerer replied, unable to hide the grin on his face.

In sync, the two men closed their eyes and leaned in as their lips pressed together. Hungry for each other, they opened their mouths as their tongues started their slow dance.

Holding his arms firmly around Rulf’s waist, Esthor felt on top of the world, standing there and holding the man he loved. After their seemingly never-ending battle, they were together at last, free to explore their feelings for each other and possibly build a future together.

Hand in hand, they slowly made their way to the top of the green hill, reaching the sorcerer’s stone house, surrounded by cypress trees.

Some nights, when people would pass by that distant area of the town, they were able to see a humanoid wolf, running around by himself and playing in the moonlight as if he had no cares in the world. However, he was not alone. A tiny fairyfly would always accompany him faithfully, flying around him wherever he would go.

 

~ THE END ~

I wish to thank everyone who has read this story, it means so much to me! I hope you had fun reading it as much as I had writing it!

Until next time! :wizard:

Copyright © 2018 ObicanDecko; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

54 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

Karma is a bitch!!!!!! Muah ha ha!!!!

Yes she is, and this time I got the honor to channel it! ;) 

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Truly enjoyed this story from start to finish.  A sequel would not be amiss.  However, whatever you turn yourself to next; keep this up...  

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12 hours ago, mally said:

Such a wonderfully told storyline. Thank you

Thank you so much! ^_^

 

10 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

Truly enjoyed this story from start to finish.  A sequel would not be amiss.  However, whatever you turn yourself to next; keep this up...  

Aww I'm so glad to hear that! :) I always have plans for future stories, but I only have so much time, so we'll see...

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16 minutes ago, chris191070 said:

Awesome chapter, perfect punishment for the king. Long live the Queen. May Rulf and Esthor be happy together.

Thank you so much, friend! Here's to Rulf and Esthor! ^_^

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I think you had as much fun writing this as we had rereading it. I hope you think to follow these characters forward to a new series.

Best Wishes to you

Don

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2 hours ago, damack1957 said:

I think you had as much fun writing this as we had rereading it. I hope you think to follow these characters forward to a new series.

Best Wishes to you

Don

Thank you so much! It's always nice to hear people they've enjoyed my stories! While not a proper sequel, "Book of Venoms" is set in the same universe as this one, so feel free to check it out. :)

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1 hour ago, jryski said:

That ending is so beautiful! I love it!

Thank you, I'm happy to hear that! ^_^ 

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