Tweet of the Day: A Recipe for Revolution in Speculative Fiction
Snowdonia National Park, Principality of Wales, 10 August 22:38 GMT
I scrambled up the wall by shaping Earth into a series of handhold . I peeked over the edge and saw no guards. Up and over I went, Excalibur at the ready. The fog thinned inside the walls. Visibility improved from a few inches to a yard. I jumped from the battlements. A bit of Air was all I needed to make a safe landing. The central keep glowed from the fire of bellows within. The intense heat pushed against the cold fog . The clank of hammers on metal filled the courtyard.
The staccato of automatic fire cut through the night followed by the report of single action rifles.
So much for the quiet approach.
Bells sounded. Guards in shiny metal plate poured out of the keep. I darted in before anyone noticed me in the maelstrom of fog and gunfire. I went deeper into the keep. Passed burning furnaces, barracks and arms stores. The air carried a ominous chant. I followed it to its source. Down curved stairs into the bowels of the mountain. At the bottom of the stairs a large chamber opened before me. A dozen men and women, rail thin and clad in nothing but filthy rags, sang an ancient hymn to forgotten gods. A river of wisp, entities from an Outerworld, flowed past me. In the center stood the Prince, or what was left of him. He too was thin with sunken eyes and sallow skin. The garments of office draped his narrow shoulders.
“So the Sister Mac Lir comes at last,” said the Prince. His followers scrambled out of the way. “Your brother knew the value of loyalty. Loyalty unto death.”
“I pay no heed to wanna be princes or gods,” I said as I approached.
“What do you know of such things, Mac Lir?”
“Enough, I read Merlin’s book you see. Should I call you Winter’s Queen or perhaps Morrigan?”
“Know you well enough, I suppose. And what is that, no it is not of my make, clearly not frost rimmed Caliburn?”
I looked at the sword, “Not exactly. It is of the Avalon’s make, but belongs to this age.”
“I see. And what do you intend to do with it? You think you can kill me?”
I inched closer, “Yes.”
“Ah, interesting. But how do you kill an immortal among men?”
“You are no such thing. You are an impostor. One of us who used the Outerworlds to wield power beyond what you were meant to have. Sitting by the edge of the Nile or hurling thunderbolts from upon high doesn’t make you a god. Just makes you a spiteful bitch.”
“Yet you,” the possessed body of the Prince pointed a long finger at me, “you presume the same, do you not? The only difference is what we do with our power. We will bring order to the chaos of your so called modern world.”
“Ah, so you don’t know everything, do you Mac Lir? Interesting. Then I shan’t waste any more time with you!” It darted forward at lightning speed. I sidestepped the attack, but the ice on her forearm cut my cheek open. I kicked it in the back. It crashed on the far wall. “So you know how to fight. Good! Let the games begin!” It shot out a shower of icy spikes at me. A wave of Fire from Excalibur destroyed them. It was the opening Morrigan needed. She came at me at full speed and hit me in the stomach. The blow sent me across the room. I shook off the pain as the ground rumbled beneath my feet. I rolled away a second before a stone spike jetted out of the ground, then another and another.
I sent a gout of Fire enveloped in a sheath of Air down range. Even with its superhuman speed, it caught the edge of it. Skin turned a vicious red and clothing burned away.
Time to finish this.
“Lets dance you an I. You who brings forth dragons and blankets the land with snow and ice. You who preys on the dreams of Man. What false hopes did you feed the body you inhabit now? What dreams of power did you entice him with? Does he know that nothing will remain once you are done with him?”
The Prince head shook, then smiled, “No, there is nothing here. Just what I wanted and what he needed. He wanted power and I gave it to him. His will is my will, his actions my actions.”
“Is that so? Who do you think stole fire from the so-called gods? Who stood with Men against the beast of the other worlds? We did, we who claim nothing but to be ourselves, stood with each other and against those whose foolish thirst for power led them to believe they were gods. Do you think you can control what you have unleashed? She is right you know, there is more to it? Did you order London burned?” The Prince body halted, took a half step and looked at me with horrified eyes. “Is this the price of freedom? Is it not my voice the voice of the Druid and the Cymry! It was her kind who used us, manipulated us and then fled when the world turn on us.”
“NOOOO!” screamed the Morrigan. The attacks came, furious but uncoordinated. She came at me at full speed. This time I countered with a wall of flame. The Prince’s legs gave way as they caught on fire. “No! Nah! No! Burns! Naaah!”
He got up again, naked from the waste down. He stood on blackened legs with bone sticking out. “The body is spent Morrigan, and you have no substitutes.”
“I will take you!”
She came at me. I fell on one knee, Excalibur at the ready. It sliced deep into the stomach, all the way to the hilt. Blood ran down my arm. The poor sod that had once called himself Prince convulsed as life drained from him.
“Be gone, I say.”
Smoke slipped through the opened mouth. The body collapsed upon the floor. As the adrenaline left my body, I felt a sharp pain in my left ankle. I cut off the head and took it with me. Outside, the sky cleared. Helicopters brought reinforcements. I raised the head by the hair.
“Your Prince is dead. I, Gwendolyn Mac Lir, daughter of Wales, sister of the blood, heir to the Druids, proclaim it so. Lay down your arms or face a certain death!” I tossed the head aside for all to see.
The enemy laid down the arms. The incoming soldiers secured prisoners. Captain Winters hobbled to me and saluted.
“Madame, we secured the castle,” he said.
“And your men?”
“Price and Anderson didn’t make it. The rest are wounded but still with us,” a frown creased his brow.
“What is it Captain?”
“Is it over?” he asked. “I mean I’m fine going back to killing terrorist and the like.”
“Time will tell, Captain.”
“It always does, Madame.”