Book 1 The Queens of Love and Beauty

Chapter Four

Sunday the 11th of February 1990 (Same Day).

Dragon’s Triangle, South of Japan.

Endurance Expedition.

Day 24 (Still).

I laid there in silence for a good while. It felt like hours, but only minutes had passed when Sam’s voice came on the radio.

“Hello? Hello? Hello?” Sam said, scared.

“Sam, it’s Rox!” I said, calmly.

“Oh god, Rox...it’s good to hear your voice.”

“Yours too, Sam. Is the rest of the crew with you?”

“No, I just managed to steal this radio off a guard.”

“A guard?”

“I’ve been kidnapped.”

“What? Where are you?”

“I don’t know...some old Japanese palace. They keep talking about a ‘fire ritual’. Rox, I’m fucking terrified. Shit, someone’s coming. I’ve got to hide this thing.”

“Sam? Sam!” I stood and looked at the whole in the walls, that lead out of here. “A fire ritual...like the mural in Himiko’s tomb...”

I then began walking out of the place. “Roth, are you there?”

“I’m heading towards the palace. The others are being held there as well.” Roth said.

“I’ll catch up to you and we can go in together.”

I then came to a hut, it was empty. I looked around, seeing one way to get down to the palace.

“Oh god, that was close. Are you there, Rox? Please be there.” Sam said on the radio.

“I’m here, Sam. Your Guardian Angel will never let you down. Are you okay?” I said.

“What do they want with me, Rox. A fire ritual? This is so fucking fucked up!”

“Listen. I’m coming to get you. I’m going to get you out of there! I promise you, Sam.”

“Please, please help me, Rox.”

“I promise, Sam. I’m going to save you.”

“Hey! She took your radio!” A man’s voice came on the radio.

“Oh no! Aaah! Aaah! Help me! Please! No! No!” Sam said.

“Fuck!” I said, then jumping over to a ledge, zipping down the rope that was there.

I came to a river, that went into a water fall. I jumped in and let my body go with the flow of it.

I stopped at a plane, slamming down on the glass, hard, making a crack sound as I hit it. I looked up, seeing a parachute, and quickly grabbed it, the glass then smashing beneath me.

Someone shot the parachute from below, sending me down onto a trunk of a tree. I landed at the bottom, where there was a small town.

I walked until I came to a campfire, and began healing myself, by putting my hand over my wounds for a few seconds. I had powers of healing, and much more. The wounds healed up pretty good.

I then walked through the town, to the other part, where it had been beaten. There was a house with a bed, so I rested my eyes for a couple of minutes, before walking over to a ladder, Grim at the top of it.

I watched Grim die then, before walking to a little hut, which I had to climb up with my axe. It had a little camp, so I went and sat down, taking in everything that had happened.

I stood, then walking around the huge bridge, getting under it so that no one could shot me while I was climbing.

I walked until I came to a ledge, which I jumped at and grabbed, shimmying to the side of the bridge, using that as my cover. I got to the other side with almost no incidents.

A man came up behind me, grabbing me around the throat. I elbowed him in the gut, sending him off the bridge. I then ran until I got to a rock wall, which I climbed until at the top, miles off the ground.

“Roth, I’m heading in.” I said over the radio, walking through a narrow pathway.

“Are you sure about this, Rox?” Roth said.

“I’ll get them. I’ll come back I promise.”

I then walked through a knee high pool of dirty water, that led me to a more open tunnel. It led to the main part of the place, where there were men all around, including Mathias, who had Sam tied to a tree trunk in front of a waterfall.

I walked close enough so no one saw me, watching Sam at all times. I had one eye on her while the other watched Mathias next to her, a torch in his right hand.

“My brothers, listen to me. Out in the world, we were nothing. But here...here, we are the Solarii, the Sun Queen’s children. She brought us here for a reason. I know you want your freedom. I know you want to escape this place. But to do so, we must release our Queen. Like us, she is a prisoner. If we can free her, we free ourselves! This girl...she carries the blood of this land. She could be the key. The Ritual of Flames will show us the truth! Himiko, you are the first and the last...speak to us now!” Mathias said.

One of Mathias’ men went up to Sam, and started burning the wood beneath her feet, but I shot him with an arrow in time, so she didn’t burn, and he died screaming.

As I began to shot an arrow at Mathias, one of the men speared me, knocking me backward, but not down.

I put my hands up in surrender. I knew I would kill them all later, if not soon. I knew they would all die, I even knew that I would kill Mathias with my bare hands.

They slowly walked me up next to Sam. I kept my eyes on Mathias the whole time.

They shoved me onto my knees. I watched Mathias and Sam closely as the men tried to hold me down with all they had. I could have got out of their holds if I wanted to.

Mathias looked at me. “Every creature in nature will turn and fight when its very survival is at stake. So don’t think I don’t understand you, girl. I’ve just been doing this a lot longer.” He said, turning away from me.

“Ready yourselves, brothers. Our queen is about to speak! Speak to us, Himiko!” Mathias said, then lighting the wood beneath Sam’s feet, the fire burnt away at the wood, not touching her flesh. “Speak to us through the flames!”

All of a sudden from behind Sam, came a gust of strong wind that blew the fire out. I knew what Mathias would think then. I knew he would think that it was a sign.

Sam slid down the tree trunk she was tied up to. Mathias smiling as he thought she could help him.

“She...she’s the one.” Mathias said, then turning around to face the group of men who were standing in front of him. “Soon my brothers...we will be reborn! Take her to the throne room.” His men grabbed Sam by the arm, and pushed her toward the throne room. “Your fight is over, creature.”

The men who had been holding me down then dragged me along. We got to a bridge, and that’s when I pushed them both away from me, not killing them, and jumped into the waist high pool of blood.

I pulled my eyes above the blood, and began to look around, when I did not see anyone, I stayed there for a moment, and began to get up, so the blood was only at my waist.

I looked around again, then began to walk up the slope in front of me, that led to a huge room.

I went through the door, and took down the first man, killing him with a bullet from my gun. I then quietly came up behind another man, strangling him to death with my bow. I then came to the last one, punching him in the back of the head, hard, knocking him out, then I shot him in the back of the head.

I then proceeded to the next door, and went through, seeing a wall to my left. I climbed up and stood at the top.

I walked slowly into the room, seeing that no one would be able to spot me. I shot a fire arrow at the gas coming from each side of a monument to Himiko, killing all six of the men below.

I then went through a tunnel which led to where Alex, Reyes and Jonah were being held. They were high up, in a plane body. The thing had no wings, or anything.

There were three men in the room. I killed them all quietly and climbed up a wall to where there were two gas clouds pouring out of a two fat poles.

I quickly positioned myself so that I wouldn’t get hit, arrow ready, and shot through both glass clouds, with a fire arrow, sending the plane body to the other side of the room, to the way out.

I began to walk across a decaying bridge, digging my axe into the wall when the last part fell away.

I then began to walk through a tunnel which lead to the throne room, where they had Sam. I smirked, thinking that I would always be right behind them, and would get Sam back.

“I don’t think you understand.” Mathias was saying to Sam, as I got as close as I could to them.

“You have been chosen, Samantha.” Mathias said, as close to Sam as he could get without touching her. “This is a great honor for you; for all of us. Some were beginning to doubt we’d ever find you...but here you are.”

“Please. I know you think I’m something special. But I’m not. I don’t want to be chosen.” Sam said, trying to be brave.

This is probably a good time to tell you how old Sam is. She was fourteen years old. She was scared and wanted to go back home to her mother and father.

“This is not about what you want. It’s about what you are. Himiko’s blood runs in your veins. I think you know this, Samantha.” Mathias said, and he was right, she had known, but she wasn’t going to tell him that, over her dead body would she, and I knew that.

“You’re insane, Mathias. Why are you doing this?” Sam said.

“You’re searching for logic and reason where there is none. I made the same mistake once. Back when I thought ships could reach us and planes wouldn’t fall from the sky.”

“I just want to go home. I want my mum and dad. I want my brother. My brother or his girlfriend, whichever finds you first, will destroy your worthless body.”

Mathias pushed her against a pillar. “I’ve waited years for this moment...I’ve given my life! Don’t you think I’ve tried to get away from here? From this place! We are all trapped here. But you, Samantha, you have the power to release us! Many have given up their souls willingly for this gift!” He said, then letting her go.

A man came in. “The fires are getting worse. The other girl’s vanished!” He said.

Mathias and the man went to help out their men then, only leaving one man to guard Sam. That would never be enough for me.

I put an arrow through his head, almost hitting Sam as well, and slowly walked over to her.

Sam saw me, and ran up to me, hugging me. “Roxy! Oh my god, you’re here. I was beginning to think I was going crazy. I knew you would come for me. Your my Guardian Angel.” Sam said.

“It’s going to be okay. I won’t let anyone hurt you, Sam. I promise you, I will kill Mathias myself if I get close enough to do so.” I said, reassuring her.

“How are we ever going to get out of here?”

“We need to leave before he comes back. I promise,Sam, we’re going to get out of here. We’ll go home, and you can see your mother and father again.”

We then began going back the way I had come in, but four men came round a corner, forcing us back into the throne room. We both left, and got to a small village.

I left Sam there while I climbed up the building in front of us. I climbed to the roof, looking around for the plane, and Roth.

“Roth? Roth, where are you?” I shouted.

The plane then came into view, a smiling Roth at the door, watching me closely. I looked around, hoping that we could land the plane without my dream coming true. I hoped beyond everything that he would be okay, and we could all go home.

“I’m here, Old Girl!” Roth said, a smile forming on my face.

I then took a running jump to the plane, Roth catching my hand as I lost my grip, pulling me into the plane.

I looked at the pilot, knowing that we had to land the plane. “We have to land! We have to land or the storms are going to crash us. We can’t leave!” I said.

Roth was looking out the window, at the group. “We can’t leave them behind.” He said.

I got near the pilot. “We have to land!”

“No way! Not in this weather!” The pilot said.

“We can’t leave them behind!” I shouted.

“I barely made it here in one piece!”

I grabbed Roth’s gun from its holster on his belt, and pointed it at the pilots head.

“Do it!” I said.

“She’ll pull apart!” The pilot said.

“Now!”

“Fuck! You’re crazy!” He began to land the plane then.

A thunder blot hit the plane, and send it down to the ground, crashing in a small village.

I got up, and looked over at Roth. He was stood, looking at the men coming toward us.

Mathias was with the men, and had an axe. He threw it, trying to aim for me, but Roth stepped in the way, taking the axe to the chest. That didn’t put him down straight away.

He fought every single one of them. All five were dead by the hand of Roth’s gun. Mathias running away when he realized he didn’t want to fight this fight.

I grabbed Roth as he went down, slowly pulling him to the ground in a sitting position. He gave up his hold on life then.

I sat with him until the others came to us, silently crying to myself before they came. They looked at us in horror, Sam more than the others, knowing that I had fallen in love with Roth, that I had loved him like he was my husband.

I had laid him down by the time they came over. Sam coming straight over to me, putting her arm around me.

We burnt Roth’s body, and then went to the beach. Reyes had said there was a boat there, we could use it when we could leave this place, whenever that would be.


Monday the 12th of February 1990.

Dragon’s Triangle, South of Japan.

Endurance Expedition.

Day 25.

I had taken the time to sleep. I had slept on the cold hard floor next to the fire. I didn’t mind, I was used to sleeping in rough places. Kurtis had come to the beach at that moment.

Kurtis came over to me, so I gave him a quick hug, looking around for Alex. He was no where to be seen. I then turned around to Jonah, and the others, all apart from Whitman.

“Where is Alex?” I asked, concerned.

I had been trying to avoid a relationship with Alex, because the truth was, I loved him. And I knew that he loved me. I couldn’t...not when I my thoughts about him were clouded.

“Over at the Endurance to grab some tools for Reyes.” Jonah said.

I glared angrily at Kurtis. “You let him go?” I said, a little more angrily then I had meant to.

“Kid practically begged to go, Rox, what was I supposed to do? Stop him, and not get the tools we need to get this damn thing working?” Kurtis said.

“Kurtis, darling, you could have gone with him.” I sounded less angry now, just hoping Alex would make it off that ship.

“Rox, it wasn’t Kurtis’ fault, he didn’t even know until Alex was leaving.” Sam said.

“Alex should have been back by now.” Jonah said.

Out of nowhere, Whitman came running over, shooting to his back, at people that weren’t there.

“Help! Heeeeelp! Jonah! Help!” Whitman shouted, as he came closer to the fire, where we were stood.

Jonah readied his shotgun, aiming it near Whitman. But there was no one behind him to shoot. There was no one after Whitman, no noticeable men anyway.

“How many are there?” Reyes asked, as Whitman finally stopped near us. Me thinking that he was pretending.

“I don’t know...”

“Are you hurt?” Sam asked.

“I couldn’t see anyone.” Jonah said, as he put his gun down on the table next to the fire.

“I must’ve scared them off. Feel like I’ve run for miles.” Whitman said, but he hadn’t, he was lying.

“And you’ve barely broken a sweat. I doubt you ran at all, you’re lying to us. You better not have done anything stupid, Whitman. I swear, if I have to, I’m leaving you to die.” I said, walking over to them, just a couple of feet from the fire.

“Must be fitter than I thought. I’m not lying.”

“I’m going after Alex. Where were the tools?”

“The engine room...look, he can take care of himself, Roxy.” Reyes said.

“Good. Then we’ll be back soon.”

I then turned and began to walk away. Jonah came over to me, grabbing a bow that had been near the fire. I stopped turning toward him.

“Here, take this bow. I’ve been saving it for you ever since I found it on one of the men.” Jonah said, handing me the bow, I took it. “It’s powerful...can shoot an arrow into almost anything.”

“Thank you, Jonah.” I said, then walking across a long bridge, that led to a platform that had a rope leading down to the Endurance.

I zipped down and landed on the boat. I jumped down into the ship, walking until I came to Sam’s room. I looked in there, looking at myself in the mirror for a moment.

I then proceeded to the other half of the ship, zipping down a rope, landing in waist high water. I found Alex two left turns later. He was in a room, a pipe had fallen onto his leg, and he couldn’t get out of it. I knew what that meant, and so did he.

There was gas coming out a small whole in the ground. I knelt next to Alex, looking around, then to Alex.

“Oh Alex...you got the tools.” I said, impressed.

“Finally I impress you! Looks like my dance career’s over.” Alex said, then laughing.

Men then came from the corridor that I had come down. There were six men.

Alex handed me the tools, and pointed his gun toward a gas cloud. I went to kiss him on the lips, but he moved his face, and I kissed his check, then leaving out the door to our left.

I walked back to the group, alone. I made sure not to show my emotions to the others, because I was screaming inside. I had known Alex since we were six, and now he was gone.

I went up to Reyes, giving her the tools, practically throwing them at her. I then walked over to Sam, putting my bow down.

I sat next to Sam then, her putting her arms around me, Kurtis wondering off somewhere. Everyone heard his scream of, ‘fuck this’, looking at each other.

“When we heard the explosion we thought...” Whitman said, I glared at him, shutting him up.

“Alex was still on the ship...how is it Sam and Kurtis can read me like an open book, but none of you others have any idea what I’m going through? You’re supposed to be my friends.” I said, glaring at each one in turn.

“Seems anyone caught with you has a pretty low survival rate.” Reyes said.

I stood up then, punching her right in the jaw. “Better keep your distance then.” I said, Reyes sitting back up.

I then left them, Kurtis following behind me, but I didn’t take much notice. I was blaming him, when he could not have done anything.

I walked to the temple, walking straight up to the statue of Himiko, and saw one of her guards knelt with a sword in his belly. He had committed suicide.

I pulled out the sword, and grabbed the note from the handle, where there was an opening, Kurtis stood in front of me now. The note said, I have failed my queen. The ritual was corrupted. The priestess knew only death could save her and took her own life. Now the first and last Queen lives a half-life, a soul in a decaying body. Her rage became the storms and would not stop while her soul is tied to this earth. My Stormguard are sworn to protect her. They must continue, but I cannot.

“The soul is trapped in a decaying body...” I said, putting the document in my jacket pocket. “That’s what’s causing the storms. To stop the storms, we need to destroy the body in the ritual chamber...there we go, got there in the end.”

I then went back out the way I had come, and went back down to the others, who had just taken out several men.

Reyes had fixed the boat, and Sam was missing. So we all got onto the boat, and took it up near the ritual chamber.


Tuesday the 13th of February 1990.

Dragon’s Triangle, South of Japan.

Endurance Expedition.

Day 26.

I went into the ritual chamber, alone. I walked up to the statue angrily, thinking I knew what she wanted with Sam. I looked at the pictures on the ground.

“The Sun Queens...the fire ritual where the Queen chooses her successor. The chosen priestess enters the monastery.” I said to myself.

I then began talking as if to Himiko. “She’s given your power and becomes the new queen. Wait a minute...many have given up their souls willingly for this gift, that’s what Mathias said. And the general back in the tomb, the letter said, now the first and last queen lives a half-life, a soul in a decaying body.”

The moment of realization came then. “Vessels...it’s not transferring your power. It’s transferring...your soul. All these Queens. They were all...you. Himiko. First and last. And now you want Sam.”

I walked up to the statue closer, aggressively. “Well, you’re not fucking getting her.”

I then walked to the monastery which was a few miles away, taking a tunnel, coming to a bridge. I crossed it, Mathias holding Sam on the far side in the door frame.

“Do you think that you’re the hero? Everything I’ve done I did to survive. How many lives have you taken to do the same? There are no heroes here, only survivors.” Mathias said, stepping closer inside, me walking slowly in front of them.

A fire started burning in my way, leaving no way to get around. Mathias stopped there, just beyond the door. I calmly stopped, playing his game for a while.

“Himiko’s dangerous, Mathias. She’s angry, she’s vengeful and she has real power.” I shouted.

“A mere mortal for a queen? A good trade for our freedom I’d say.” He shouted back.

Mathias then went into the monastery and began the ritual. I ran backward, and took a running jump to clear the fire. I then slowly began to walk up to him.

I went to shoot the Sun Queen’s body, as it began to transfer the soul, but Mathias shot the bow out of my hand.

I clicked my neck, then clicking my knuckles. “You’re gonna pay, you piece of shit!”

I then began to wail on him with both fists. I didn’t stop until his face was disfigured, and he was dead, then getting up, taking another 9mm gun, holding both in my hands.

I then walked over to Sam, putting a fire arrow through the Sun Queen, burning her soul, and her, leaving her dead. I then took Sam in my arms, and carried her back to the boat.

That’s when we left the island. Sending an SOS for a ship to come and get us if they were anywhere near us. They did within minutes of us sending the SOS.

I’ve been so blind...so naive. For years I resented my father, doubted him like the rest. But he was right about so much. I just wish I could tell him that now.

There are so many mysteries that I once dismissed as mere stories. But the line between our myths and truth is fragile and blurry. I need to find answers...I must understand.

I’m not going home. I’m going forward.

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