Before the story begins, a few words.
First off, the following work is my own creation. The characters, and the way they are portrayed was based solely on my interpretations. I did solicit feedback from the creator's of the various characters in regards to the way they are portrayed. At the end of the story, readers will be able to vote on the outcome of the first battle. The characters of Korhil Osara-Neth, and Zadan Yetic are creations of backers of the various Fairytale Games Kickstarter campaigns. I owed them an opportunity to be written into a story, and here I am giving them two (the prologue, and at least 1 battle... Perhaps more depending on how the readers vote.)
This is the first chapter of a much longer story. There is a finale planned... That finale will hopefully be something of a crowd pleaser. As with all my other Fairytale Battle stories, this is NOT a story for kids. There will be blood, and I can curse a lot.
And yes, I did put myself in the story as the Captain of the Queen's guard. I did this because I did not want to name a new character when I started writing, so I used my name as a filler and it amused me by the time I got to the end, so I decided not to change it. For those that might be interested, the original plan for the Captain, was actually going to be to use a character I created for a comic book I was working on, but with Kin Arthur being a potential contestant, I did not want to use my universe's version of his daughter as a character (unless absolutely necessary). If you are interested in seeing more about her, head over HERE . I hope you all enjoy the prologue.
The Queens sat on their thrones, gazing down at the tall man on his knees before them. His head was bowed in deference, a broadsword lay on the ground before him. Silence reigned in the throne room, neither the Queens nor the red-headed man speaking.
Finally, the Queen of Hearts rose, and stepped casually over to the man. She placed a single foot on the blade, and reached down to cup his chin in a dainty hand. “You have done well as the captain of our guard, Sir Frank. Now, it is time to do our bidding once more.” She offered a cold smile, and brushed her hand up against his cheek as she released his chin.
He nodded his head ever so slightly. “Whatever it is you desire my queens, if it is within my power, it shall be yours.”
The Queen of Hearts patted the top of his head, as if petting an obedient dog. “Very well. Rise, Sir Frank, there is work to be done.”
The giant rose slowly, his armor clanking quietly as he stood. At his full height, he towered several spans over the Queen of Hearts, yet she did not seem to be the least bit threatened by his immensity. She knelt down, and grabbed his sword, turning it over a few times in her hand, before offering it to him with another icy grin. “You shouldn't need this, but just in case.”
She waved her hands, and in a puff of pink smoke, a small scroll appeared in her hand. It was sealed with a dollop of red wax, an elaborate stylized heart pressed into it. “This should be a fairly simple task for you. First, I need you to inform the citizens of the land that there is to be a grand tournament. They shall have control over who will be competing. Their votes will determine the combatants.
“Also, we need you to go to the dungeons, and retrieve the individuals listed on that scroll. They shall have a very special place in our tournament. Return to us with the two individuals mentioned on the scroll.”
The giant placed a fist over his heart, and bowed deeply, the scabbard of his sword belt touching the floor. Then he stood with an abrupt motion, clicked his heals together, and turned to leave. As the metallic sound of his sabatons on the marble floor receded in the distance, the Queens shared a brief smile.
Sir Frank made his way to the village square, and placed a proclamation of the upcoming tournament near the raised platform that dominated the square. After the announcement had been placed, he rang the bell, alerting the citizens that they were needed in the square. He waited only long enough to see that some of the citizens were beginning to make their way to the square, before he turned and left, the oncoming crowd parting around him as he went. None of the citizens dared make eye contact with the man who acted as the voice of the Queens. However many cursed him under their breath once they were sure he was out of earshot.
With his first task finished, he returned to the Castle, and descended into the deepest, darkest parts of the dungeons. Beyond where the most violent individuals were kept, and down to the place where the Queens kept those with whom they had a particular hatred.
The first cell he came to opened with a creak, and Sir Frank ducked his head to enter through the tiny door. The room was dark, lit only the scant torchlight filtering in from the hallway, and the blinking red light on the collar around the neck of the room's sole occupant. Despite the filthy conditions, there was a regal air to the man, as he sat cross-legged on the wooden pallet that served as the only furniture in the cell. He muttered quietly, in a language Sir Frank did not understand, his eyes closed.
Without opening his eyes, he turned his head toward the open door. “Ah, Sir Frank. You've returned sooner than I would have expected.” His voice was low, with a slight accent that Sir Frank did not quite recognize. “What line of questioning do your queens have for me today? I swear I've told them everything I know.”
He paused, and cocked his head to the side. “Or is this going to be another round of torture? I do so love your torture sessions. I particularly enjoyed that time...”
“Silence, archer!” Sir Frank growled as he stepped further into the room. “Just make this easy, and come with me.”
“Ah, the poor captain in the tin can is surly today.” A thin smile played across his lips. “The torture always seems more heartfelt when you are in one of your moods. Very well my good man, lets get going.” He raised his hands, offering his wrists up to be shackled.
“The Queens have requested your presence, archer.” Sir Frank grumbled, as he took an undue amount of pleasure in tightening the iron manacles around the archer's wrists. “Come with me, I'm not done down here.” He paused and offered the archer a cruel smile. “Please give me a reason to silence you for this journey.”
“Very well, my good man. A gentleman never keeps a woman waiting.” His red eyes lit up a little, obviously amused with himself. “Lead the way!”
Sir Frank pulled on the chain attached to the manacles, and started off down the hall silently. They passed many other cells. Some were empty, some held occupants that screamed in abject terror at the sound of the approaching suit of armor. All along the way evenly-spaced torches made sure that the darkness never overwhelmed them.
“Are we going to pick up another resident of this fine establishment, or are you just giving me a tour of the facilities?” The archer quipped, looking at the dark stone walls, and barred wooden doors that surrounded them. “Are you finally going to show me the pool? I was told there would be a pool!”
A heavy gauntlet caught him across the face, and sent his diminutive form reeling. “SILENCE!”
Sir Frank yanked hard on the chain, the archer wiped the blood that was trickling from his mouth on his shirt sleeve, as he lurched forward. The grin on his face only widening.
Finally, they stopped in front of another door. Sir Frank fished through the keys on his belt, and hesitated before unlocking the door. Whatever was on the other side of the door obviously scared him. After a deep breath, he turned the key, and threw open the door. Inside was a room very similar to the one that the archer had just recently inhabited. Huddled against a wall, was a cadaverous man with a shock of dirty white hair. His eyes darted around the room before coming to rest on Sir Frank.
“No.” He whispered, his eyes looking beyond Sir Frank, at the black-haired individual behind him. “No, no, no no NO!”
“The Queens have requested your presence, Yetic.” Frank made no move to go further into the room. “Get up, and get moving.”
Zadan Yetic shook his head, and pulled lightly at the blinking collar around his throat. “I've already told those awful, unpleasant women, they will never benefit from my work! He's already free anyway, they'll never catch him.” He stared off into space, a lazy half smile on his pale lips. “Oh no. They will never catch him until it is too late.”
Sir Frank took a tentative step into the room, and immediately jumped back as glowing runic symbols lit up on the floor, and crackling lightning crashed down. The sudden flash of light in the confined space blinded everyone, leaving dark after images dancing across their eyes. Sir Frank cursed loudly, as his sword arm came to rest on the hilt of his broadsword.
“Ah. Almost had you that time.” Zadan chuckled mirthlessly. “That one never gets old. No... Never.”
Sir Frank let out a howl of rage, and rushed in, punching the dirty man, and sending him crashing to the floor. “You're coming with me, and if you try that shit again, the Queens will have to find another necromancer to confer with if they want to talk to you. Now let's go!”
Frank clapped the manacles around the bony wrists of Zadan Yetic, and once more began his trek through the cavernous dungeon. Screams, wails, and the occasional sound of a body throwing itself against a heavy wooden door accompanied their rapid egress.
The whole way, the archer remained silent, still nursing his wounded mouth. Zadan muttered to himself, a low buzz of unintelligible syllables strung together at a pace so rapid it almost sounded like one long run on sentence. If Sir Frank had been listening, he might have wondered hen Zadan took time to draw a breath.
Finally, the large wooden door that lead to the main stairwell loomed before them. As they approached the exit with renewed vigor, suddenly the door burst into angry blue flame. Sir Frank and the Archer took some nervous steps back, meanwhile Zadan erupted into fits of uncontrollable laughter. Sir Frank turned to look at the mad necromancer, and with a howl of rage backhanded him across the face. The grin quickly disappeared from the thin man's face as he crumpled limply to the ground.
“Archer, pick him up.” Sir Frank sneered, as he yanked on the chains and started walking forward. “We have a meeting with the Queens, and I don't intend to keep them waiting.”
The archer, offered a furtive look of disdain at the knight's back, then quickly lifted the unconscious form of Zadan Yetic. Fortunately the necromancer was light, and the archer was able to keep up with Sir Frank without too much difficulty.
The trek back to the throne room was long, following twisting stairwells, maze-like hallways, and along a route that should have been impossible by any concept of the laws of physics. After a walk that seemed to go on for miles, the throne room eventually opened up before them. It was a cavernous room, with a high, domed ceiling. At the far end of the room sat the three Queens. Leading from the door to the thrones themselves, was a long three-striped carpet, each long stripe lead directly to a different throne. A black stripe on the left side, that seemed to suck the light right out of the room around it, led to the Dark Queen. In the middle, a vibrant, blood-red stripe led straight to the Queen of Hearts. A final icy blue thread, that shimmered slightly, led to the throne of the Snow Queen.
The trio sat regally upon their thrones, their imperious gazes falling upon the approaching trio. At an appropriately deferential distance, Sir Frank dropped to his knees an a smooth motion. When the archer was too slow to fall to his own knees, Sir Frank gave the chains a sharp yank. The archer fell to his knees, and the limp form of Zadan Yetic went tumbling across the ground before him.
“You have done well, Sir Frank.” The Queen of Hearts spoke, with a patronizing tone. The words oozed out of her mouth with a sickeningly sweet unctuous quality. “But you seem to have left Mr. Yetic a little worse for wear, don't you think?”
“I apologize, my Queens.” Sir Frank lowered his head even further, his nose now nearly touching the red carpet beneath him. “He was using some form of magic to impede my return to you. I thought this the most expedient way to handle his trickery.”
The Dark Queen let out a mirthless laugh, “He's awake, you know. He never was fond of stairs. It seemed he used your rage, and your lack of perception to his advantage.”
Zadan Yetic stood, dusted himself off and offered the queen a brief smile. “I never could pull one over on you, could I? It's so sad you decided you liked being an evil bitch. We could have been wonderful together.”
“Silence, you insolent cur.” Dark energy crackled around the Queen's eyes, and danced across her fingertips. “We've all suffered your impudence long enough. Now is your final chance to save your miserable little life. Give us the secret to your little doll.” She paused, and grinned, “Give it to us, and we just might spare you. If we are feeling magnanimous, we might even reinstate you as our court magician. However if you continue to put up this defiant front, you might not live long enough to truly regret the decision.”
Zadan bowed deeply, scrapping a hand across the black portion of the carpet. “It is a shame, my dear Queens.” He clicked his tongue as if scolding a child, “I can not give you my secrets, not when you first asked, and not now. Your hearts are too dark. I can not trust you will use my gift for anything other than your own nefarious purposes.” He paused, and offered the Dark Queen a smile that spoke of untold insanity festering behind it. “Punish me as you see fit.”
The Dark Queen nodded her head once, and let out a small sigh. “Very well. You have made the wrong decision, Zadan, but it was your decision to make. If we have to, we'll extract the information from you after you're dead.”
The Snow Queen turned to the archer, her ice blue eyes sparkling slightly in the light. “You, archer...”
“Korhil Osara-Neth.” The archer spoke, softly.
“What was that, whelp?” Frosty wisps of breath burst from the Snow Queen's mouth.
“I apologize,” The archer still kept his voice low, yet somehow it managed to resonate around the room. “I was saying, My name is Korhil Osara-Neth.”
“Very well, Korhil.” The Queen's eyes mirrored the coldness in her voice. “You have invaded our realm, assaulted a high ranking official, and we can not stand by and let this go unpunished. So with no other option, we have decided that your fate, will be the same as Zadan's.” She turned her head and nodded slightly to the Queen of Hearts.
“Sir Frank,” The Queen of Hearts stood and strode down to meet the captain of the guard. “It is finally time to begin the tournament. Take these troublemakers to the square with you, and once the citizens have gathered, read this decree.” She produced another scroll, and placed it in Sir Frank's outstretched hand.
With a slight nod, she turned, and headed back to her throne. “Now go. There is much work to be done. The Sheriff has already been dispatched to the square to make preparations.”
In a single fluid motion Sir Frank, stood, and started toward the exit, his two prisoners in tow. Not daring to speak a word to the Queens.
“Oh, one last thing, Sir Frank.” The Queen of Hearts called out. “They'll be needing their weapons, and whatever armor they came with. I would hate for the people to say we were anything but fair.”
With a snap of her fingers, time seemed to stand still. A blinding light engulfed Zadan and Korhil and when it dissipated they found that their dingy prison garb had been replaced. Once more they found themselves dressed in the clothes they had worn prior to their incarceration.
Korhil found himself again armored in his military uniform; Navy blue armor, a black overcoat, and black boots with silver trim and laces. Similarly, he found his twin dao back on either hip, although a simple test found them held fast in their scabbards. Zadan found himself once more in the attire of the court magician. Deep purple robes, edged in arcane runes draped his frail form, and gave him an air of authority that he hadn't had in a long while. His staff and dagger -much like Korhil's weapons- were stuck firmly in place.
Sir Frank gave another deep bow, and took his leave, setting a brisk pace through the palace on the way to the gates, and then out to the village square. As they passed the windows, they could hear that the Sheriff was already down there, ringing the bell that would summon the residents to gather.
By the time they made it to the raised platform in the middle of the square, a large crowd had gathered. Sir Frank looked out over the crowd, then down at his two prisoners. With a malicious grin, he unlocked their chains, and pushed them down to the ground in front of the central platform, before ascending the stairs to stand at the front of the crowd. Clearing his throat, he unrolled the scroll, and began the speech the Queens had prepared for him.
“Citizens of the Fairytale realm, your Queens, in their infinite kindness, have decided to hold a grand tournament for your amusement. They have asked for you to vote for who you would like to see enter, and you have spoken!
“Now, 18 of you shall enter, only 1 will leave alive. The risks are high, but the reward shall also be high. The winner of this melee, shall walk away with their freedom. However, pursuant to a structured and fair battle, there must be rules.
“Rule number 1, no outside interference. Two combatants per fight, no one else. If you interfere, your life is forfeit.
“Rule number 2, no victors will be declared for a battle, until one of the combatants is dead. Surrender is not an option. If you lose, your life is forfeit.
“Rule number 3, if you are severely injured during a fight, you will be healed enough so that you will be able to fight in your next battle. Our healers will not regrow limbs for you, however.
“With the rules known, the first battle begins now. Everyone clear out a space for Korhil Osara-Neth and the Sheriff of Nottingham... “
(Voting has ended, a winner has been determined... The story is in the works. Thanks for your participation! )