Era of Malice
Sovereign Malice La’Shade Khan knew no rest during Shadara’s siesta. She opened her runic eyes against the savage veil of her thick violaceous mane and found her tireless gaze upon a sea of opened books and scrolls sprawled and abandoned across her table. In a bum air of respire, she shuffled the magnificent mass of glossy hair from her face, finger-combing it behind her rich mocha head, then rested her full cheeks in the palm of her slender hand as she propped a firm elbow to the cluttered table.
What ail is this… To know no rest when I desire it the most? she thought. Her trimmed nails thumped the table then, a plop of the fingers a testament to her restless predicament. She tried to study herself into a slumber. She failed. Her queenly bed of stray books and disheveled sheets across her chambers told the same tale.
Since her wake, she stirred aimlessly about her royal chambers like a creature cursed with insomnia. They said that the sleepless ruined the form, but Malice’s nutmeg physique exceeded the frailties of mortals. She hailed as the best of two worlds: her mother of human descent; tender yet tactful in her ways. But her father, however, a true and indomitable descendant of the Firsts of Shadara; the Dark Elementai.
More than human by the blood of her father, her hourglass figure ached for reprieve, but her twitchy mind refused to surrender its hectic muse. Stubborn, perhaps. Or something more? Those thoughts of hers churned liked the lilac crystal gears that spiraled high above her vivid-plum head of harmonious shades. This lack of sleep of hers began to grate her royal nerves, but her rightful position as a powerful world queen—the sovereign of all of Shadara’s lands and seas—meant strength over weakness.
Such frailties are definitely unacceptable…
Indeed. She had to conceal such a mortal flaw. A weakness that, if foul hands discovered, proved detrimental not only against her but the entire nightrealm. Even as such bothersome stress crept beneath her skin, her stubborn will to remain undaunted rallied on.
She couldn’t afford to become less than human. Not now. Not ever.
This troubling issue, her sleepless plight, reigned for several nights. Several edgy nights of Malice neglecting her bed of silken pillows and sheets for book-thick tables and precious documents of rich lessons and lore. Not a lick of fatigue revealed itself from behind those lovely eyes of bright violet, but the nerve-touched emotion worked her face, the tight misgivings too much. An accumulation of worries taking quite the toll on her.
Yes. Anxiety afflicted Malice, the true culprit behind her refusal to bed on this soft siesta of vaporous rain and faint winds.
For she ruled this era. The Era of Malice. A stage during which—despite the deviating complexities that personified her name—promised a long and everlasting peace destined to continue after her end.
That is, of course, if an heir seized the reins.
Unfortunately, not one suitor fancied her. Her standards equaled her position, but even those who fitted that bill posed no match for her; amazingly so. Perhaps it was her capriciousness. Her picky behavior. She possessed every right to be so critical, and her eyes achieved such deep critiques. She delved into the hearts of men that way. Plucking out their true nature with one intense look.
Those eyes of hers worked wonders indeed. Soft bright eyes of powerful amethyst shone more than met, beyond captivating. Tiny glyphs lazily revolved about the dark of her mauve pupils, staggering voids that symbolically insured her spiritus—the power of life itself. Unlike the humans who rested below in her massive city—a precious sliver to a jewel she owned by blood right—her spiritus exposed a matchless might. Her longevity surpassed common mortality, too. Granting her several centuries—possibly more. It secured the nightrealm’s future for certain, a grand importance, but even a pure-blooded descendant of the firsts of Umbra himself expired.
Nonetheless, the royal blood inside her veins flowed far richer than the immense wealth surrounding her. That in common mind—her name, her blood, her longevity, and the power expected of her—the hand of the world queen stood gripped by the doubts of the masses.
Not everyone believed her able upon that mighty crystal throne.
Malice ruled Shadara before the crystal crown tailored her pretty head. As a child, her guileless nature embodied her. Full of innocent ignorance to her future and the trying affairs surrounding the planet. Now, fully cognizant of her purpose, her true concerns roosted beyond what she believed were trivial issues yet of timely worth. Although they tugged at her mind like a wanting child ignored.
What drove her now—what ached her like an irritant storm of nuisance—lied in the incessant opinions of cynics. The views of her people; Shadara itself. Their skepticism in her position played her nerves the most. They didn’t care about her blood right, some questioned her authority based on her gender, but the bulk of the skeptical masses carried the scars of Shadara’s past. A darker than dark past her late father left behind.
Why do they hate me so? What have I done to create such ill repute?
The people of the old ways wove tight their doubts into the hands of a female commanding Shadara. For generations, men mastered the Shadaran throne. They harnessed the full control of the Shadaran Crown and reigned over the nightrealm with little challenge—save for the previous events before her birth. Coming of age, Malice quickly grew conscious of others uncertainty in her potential, and in result, she wrought to prove that their qualms in her strength are misled.
They must not brand me with such scorn. I am lady sovereign. I am the world queen. Their disrepute is illy misplaced, but I’ll rectify such stigmas. I will show them that my hand is true and trusted.
Though they all deserved their right to an opinion, facts always debunked belief. Unfortunately, their motivation stemmed from their hard emotions, as if that experience alone trumped the living breathing fact that ruled above them. A fact of that magnitude lived like a honed edge that cut deeper than deep, and their prejudiced mindset suffered said blade; hence their painful outcry.
Malice. The unexpected truth. An impetuous entity of grace and intelligence against a majority of nonbelievers. In her own genuine score, her potential as the nightrealm’s one true crown emanated from that very line of predecessors—the Khan bloodline—both feared and revered.
That fact did not sit well beneath their skin, though. The case that some of her own denied her place among them burned just as worse.
She proved herself through and through, however. With time, she gradually molded the world into serenity, earned the respect of her neighboring nations, and mended the scars of tyranny that once irritated Shadara as a whole. While her presence pulled miracles beyond her throne—one never to sit still as she found time to be active among her people—they still doubted her. She showed the world; they distrusted her.
Such uncertainties deprived her of sleep.
For after all I’ve done in my restless wake, they cannot just sit in contempt and scoff me as if I’m some meek and obscure creature of ignoble habit.
After much pondering through her books and scrolls of worldly affairs and mysticism, ogling aimlessly about her chambers, and attempting meditation in hopes to shred her cerebral stress, she sought the last resort. Across the way, her chamber’s terrace sat open to the vast city beyond her citadel. The curtains veiled little given the breeze, and they reached out for her. They beckoned her presence upon the brilliance of Centra, capital city of Darkgear and the largest metropolis in all of Darkgear Prime.
She wasted no time. She accepted the alluring offer of her terrace as she sauntered through its ghostly veil. There, she sighed longingly as she finally found her solace. Malice lost herself in the crystalline city of dazzling light and all things vexing crumbled.
At least you will always love me, sweet Centra.
Colossal in its own right, Centra towered as the outstanding product of civic architecture carved into Darkgear’s Mt. Nocturnus, the nation’s supreme mountain. It was the apotheosis of all cities, its elaborate form and imperial radiance held nothing back for Malice’s sake. Its charm lacking wordy expressions. It failed not in the calming of her anxious flow—her restless spiritus—for it simmered at last.
Malice’s mind finally succumbed to the calm.
The megapolis before her presented more than just spires upon spires of luminous crystals barred and buoyant with their dazzle-etched lights low and high. Its lustrous finery beyond just art. In fact, an unspeakable love and pride poured from its every form. Filled with mystic innovation that shined like mighty beacons eternal through night and siesta. The city’s expanse fanned from the womb of its towering crystal ridge, Mt. Nocturnus. Its grand mass of obsidian and lavender loomed over the citadel, which chiseled itself into the mountain’s base as the fluorescent summit’s wafting remains pierced the sky.
Centra intersected into four sections. Grand districts: The northwestern divisions of Hapishra’s shrubby commune, the vale wards of Tuamutra ruled northeast, the urbane spires of Kebhra ascended south of the vale wards, and rivaling Kebhra reigned the crag-laden Imsetra, humbly divided by their respective high-walls congregating into Centra Pylon, a rotating tower of centric transport.
With easy eyes, Malice heedlessly tallied every single air shuttle that systematically ferried their way through the high tower. Their arcane thrusters boomed and engines buzzed afar.
She respected it, admiring it all. She leaned upon the soggy rails and studied its complex style of mechanical augury and profound purpose. This was her city. The gem that shaped the power of her realm. A constant reminder the power she held. Its magnitude as paramount as the responsibility that thrummed within Shadara’s mystic core.
She savored this all night and siesta, immersing herself in its dreamy sites. Her eyes traced way into uncountable moments of visual bliss that granted her memories akin to her heart. How many times had she walked the city’s surface? Wandering the intricate grid-ocean abyss of streetlights surrounded by prim spires that housed so much life.
She had her fill of the city’s siesta life and ascended her bright eyes to the spirited skies. The sleepy veil of Eos blanketed the night heavens in wistful glitters sprinkled across the supple blue of Shadara’s globe of light; Luna. The nightrealm’s runic rings—encompassing the world—chased across the chatoyant sky, its colors ever shifting, until fading into the quiet horizon.
So much to take note of. Everything had a purpose. This world in harmony with every single element. Malice read its essence as it spoke to her in volumes.
A magical scene, yes; the perfect remedy for the world queen’s nagging woe, but did it prove itself the undoing to her rambling thoughts?
She sighed again. …damn it…
The soft rain wept no more. The misty terrace saturated her well and as the last drops doused shy about the wild of her long crisp hair and sweet umber skin, misfortune wormed its way back. The silken breeze brushed her simple gown lastly, dancing in a tiny sway of purity, minuscule compared to the nagging vexation dragging itself back into her head like a bad habit. In the midst of her fine sightseeing, a mental peril returned.
The scenic aid of Centra failed her. Malice the worry wart indeed.
I know better than to accept this shirk of slumber as some meaningless curse. No. There’s something to make of this. I cannot ignore this omen any further.
Shadara faced misfortune; she had a right to be this deeply concerned. Surely her moment of pardon by the city’s whimsical expanse created some good, granted her a well-needed break, but she could never ignore the troublemakers that should have been erased long ago or those who could—at any moment—revolt against her. In spite of this, to say her mulling throbbed a headache didn’t apply to her famed reflection. And she stroked her fingers upon her forehead because of it.
Make no mistake; for one thing was certain: the answers to her persistent distress lurked closer than she ever imagined.
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