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Checkmate

By MagicMysticFantasy

Fantasy / Drama

Checkmate

She awakes from her sleep slowly. What has caused her disturbance? Her surface is not shaking, nor are the volcanoes erupting or tsunamis forming. Why is she awake? A sudden, rushing increase in the wells of magic draws her attention to her people. They are the reason she has awoken, and if the sudden increase in untied magic is any indication, something is wrong.

Her attention is unnoticed by all, even her children. She expected nothing less. Only the ones who tie themselves to her and her magic so tightly they can never get away can even sense a change, much less her presence. There is a man, angry and hurting. His hurt is fueling his anger, turning it into rage. He has declared war on her people.

Disturbed, she thinks about what to do. In a beat of her heart, seventeen more influxes of untied magic occur. She doesn't have a lot of time to think about her options. Her own time moves too slowly to help those who need her help. She'll have to use ones who use the same timescale.

She prompts some of those who have tied themselves closely to her, influencing them through their magic. She makes it restless, makes them travel. They find the problem, and are as outraged as she anticipated. By now, she knows the name of the angry man who is the problem. King Uther. Titles mean nothing to her, but they mean everything to her people and the others, and because of that alone he is dangerous.

When her chosen ones learn more about the problems, they want to try and help. They band together with more of her children. Several decide to help her people instead of facing the root of the problem, and lead them to the safety of her forests. Most of them choose to face the problem head on, and go after the king. They miscalculate, and go alone. They are caught, and the amount of untied magic rises again.

She wails for them, knowing that it is her fault they are dead. She allows herself only a moment of grief before she begins to get angry. Who gave this man the right to harm her children this way? How dare he try to eradicate their existence when she herself put a part of her magic in them, choosing them above all others to bear her gift?

The untied magic has grown since the angry king began his mission. He has a child. Perhaps losing one of his own children will make him stop killing hers. She turns her attention to the boy, still young, only alive for a short while. She is seconds away from using her influence to harm him when she pauses and looks closer.

His heart and spirit are still good. Misguided and troubled, but not full of the rage and hate of his father. She can't take the life of one so young, even if it would mean the angry king paying for the slaughter of her people. He is still good, and doesn't even know what magic is yet. She backs away as her anger turns to consideration. The king's son . . .

A single heartbeat of many catches her attention, and draws her away from the young prince. She traces it to a woman in a small village. The heartbeat is not hers though. It comes from within her. It comes from the unborn son of a dragonlord, one of her closest people. Their connection to her is strong because of their connection to the dragons, her first children. Perhaps . . .

She focuses in on the child, and can feel his strength even now. He will have a strong spirit, and a good heart. She considers the child for a moment, until she thinks of the vast amount of untied magic that has recently joined her own. She tugs on it, and it centers beneath the boy. The air thrums with the magic's power.

This boy will be both her masterpiece and her last hope. He will bear more of her gift than anyone ever has before. She hopes that she hasn't misjudged him, or his ability to handle so much power. Gently, she takes the power and plants it within the child, making his mother pause as she senses a change of some sort.

Just before the magic finishes flowing into the baby, she hesitates, then ties it to her own. If this is her last hope, she may as well go all the way with it. Now he will be linked to her forever, living as long as she does. She just hopes that she has not made a mistake with him, some horrible miscalculation.

When he enters the world safely, she is relieved. She has kept an eye on both her masterpiece and on the angry king's son, and her confidence in her plan is growing. Her people are growing wary and smart. There are far fewer rises in untied magic lately. Whenever there are though, the extra immediately goes to the child. He is growing up kind and happy, learning to love instead of hate, learning to give instead of take.

He is a teenager when she decides he is ready. She makes his magic act up and makes it restless. Makes him want to travel. She focuses her attention on the king's son as well, makes him restless and expectant for something he doesn't know is coming. His birth allows her to influence him as well, though not to the extent of her masterpiece. Her masterpiece is special, one of a kind. There has never been one like him before, and there never will be one like him again. He is unique.

He sets out on the road soon after, and she sets into motion a string of events that will allow the angry king's son and her masterpiece to meet. She backs away, and knows that her influence is of very little further use. She can prompt them sometimes, but now things will progress as they will. She is powerful, but even she can't control Fate.

Her move against the angry king's slaughter has been made. If this was a game, she has just made her move: a teenager full of the magic of dozens. It is unexpected, it is something new. He will not see it coming. Include his own son in the mix, and well, even she can't say exactly what will happen.

Despite herself, she smiles slowly. His move.

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