Screams filled the air, their high pitched voices rushing to my ears like the Reaper coming to retrieve a lost soul. It was deafening, terrifying, traumatizing. I could hear the desperate cries of others that crowded the streets. I could feel hands trying to pull me away, grabbing and clawing at my soft skin. I wouldn’t budge. My feet froze in place as I stared at the burning flames that pierced through the windows.
That’s it. There is the voice that I would learn to resent, to hate with such malice. His rough, gravelly voice shook the plaza. The high-pitched screeching of his giant eagles loomed overhead, like vultures ready to feast. This felt like something that would only happen to the worst criminals, to the worst villains. My thoughts were cut off as his voice roared over the flames.
“Did you really expect me not to notice?! Bah! You peasants are all ignorant buffoons who do not follow simple rules…” His voice trailed off, once again blending into the crackle of flames. I edged forward, despite the astonished and desperate yell from behind me.
I could feel the heat on my face now, the bright green flames licking at the youthful skin. It burned. It was unlike any other pain I had felt before, but I pushed forward. My tiny fingers scrambled against the splintering wood with my eyes peering over the edge into the small wood cabin that I called home.
There he was, in all of his glory, King Galterius. At that time, however, I could not decipher who this man was. All I knew was that he was a giant man who could spew forth emerald flames that burned brighter than the hottest star. His voice could be heard again, muffled by a mask that protected his face from his own flames. I couldn’t make out any features, he was just a suit of armor, a walking suit of armor.
“...You mongrels disgust me. To think that I, the King, had put so much hope and prayer into believing that my people, which would obviously be you two, would follow my rules. That underground market? You believe that I wouldn’t find out?” The King bent down, using his index finger to lift the chin of a young woman. Light brown hair adorned her head, swirling down to its tip. A black streak formed itself on the right side of her bangs and ran down the strand to the end, where it faded to a soft gray. Blood streaked down from a shallow gash on her forehead.
Despite the visible pain and suffering the woman was going through, she held a grin. Bloodied teeth and lips were visible to the King, but she still smiled in the midst of flames. Hazel eyes stared with determination straight at the King as a mischievous smirk replaced her grin. Three words tumbled from her mouth, along with a line of blood.
“Fuck your rules, sire.”
“Why you witch!”
The King brought up his hand, a ball of flames erupted from his knuckles and wrapped around his fist. I looked towards the top of his head, where a crown stood on top of his broad skull. A green orb was embedded in the golden accessory, pulsing eerily.
My attention snapped back to the scene as a deep roar erupted like a sonic boom. My eyes widened as an unsteady figure stood in front of the woman. He held up his right hand with a bracelet of silver glowing a soft baby blue. The figure was soon fully visible as the smoke from the flames settled high above them.
“Don’t you fucking touch her.” The man’s voice trembled with great effort. My eyes traveled lower to his legs. His pants were ripped in multiple places, deep gashes visible through them. Blood soaked through the heavy fabric as his knees shook. My eyes traveled back up to his face where ice blue eyes sat behind a tired, long face. Black hair, that began to grow white with age, stuck to his sweat-soaked face as he stood defensively in front of his wife.
“You’re still able to move? That is quite shocking due to the hits you were tallying up earlier. No matter, I can easily dispose of you-” Another sonic boom cut through the King’s sentence. I looked toward the man’s arm, where strong winds circled around his palm. His left arm held his right arm steady as he moved his foot back to lower himself into a fighting position.
“Excuse me for interrupting your speech, your excellency, but you are clearly mistaken. Due to my wind’s strong current, your fire won’t be able to touch me. You should know your people’s abilities before you try to bully your way into their lives.”
“My, that was a hearty speech. No wonder you were valued for analyst skills. But, it is you, my poor peasant, who is mistaken.” The King tilted his head up with what could only be a triumphant smirk. “Your wind is fueling my fire. Now, say goodbye to your pitiful life, Attisun.”
“Mommy, Daddy!!!” My little feet scrambled over the charred wood, landing on the burning ground harshly. I let out a little squeak, stumbling onto the floor face first. “Ow…”
“Shit, Kat, get back!!” My mother yelled, trying to rush over to me. A wall of fire erupted in between us, blocking her path. I yelped, pushing myself back from the flames. I turned my head, looking between the King and my parents, my bottom lip quivering.
“Mommy, Daddy? Why is that big man here and why is our house on fire?” I mumbled, turning to look at them. Hazel eyes met mine, fear filling their honey core. Shadows erupted from the ground, wrapping around me. The shadows gave off a warm feeling, something like the soft embrace of a hug and the soft hum of a mother’s soothing words. It was supposed to calm me down, it was supposed to make everything feel okay. But, as a child, I knew that there was some underlying message. It was goodbye.
Something poked my leg, something cold and hard, like metal. I turned my head, spotting a silver ring. A gray and white stone glowed softly, beckoning me closer. I picked it up, tears falling from my face. I held it in my tiny palms as I looked back up through the shadows.
“It’s ok, sweety. Everything will be fine. I need you to run away from here, ok? Mommy and Daddy will be ok. The townspeople will show you away from this village, you got that? Take that ring and never lose it, you understand? I love you, never forget that. Your aunt lives in the village next to this one, get there for me. Goodbye, my child.”
“Momma!” My little voice pierced through the shrieking wind around me as the shadows pulled me farther back.
“What a beautiful little girl! She does have your eyes, Attisun. It’s sad that those pretty little diamonds have to perish.” Galterius turned his covered face towards the shadow ball as it raced away. His left hand twitched slightly as he returned back to the man who stood in front of him. “My eagles can easily dispose of her.”
The man, Attisun, scowled deeply. Fury clearly took over his frame as another gush of air rushed towards the King. The King quickly blocked it with his fire, the walls growing higher as the strong wind gave the embers oxygen. The fire crackled with glee.
“You lay one finger on my daughter, and so help me-”
“Nah ah ah. Enough with that aggressive tone, we wouldn’t want you making a terrible mistake, now would we?” The King tilted his head, holding up a figure in his hand. The woman clawed helplessly at his burly hands, gasping for air as the King tightened his hold.
“Jamai! Let her go, dammit!”
“As you wish!”
The roar of flames canceled out his yells as they erupted with murderous glee. Jamai’s eyes widened as the King pushed his fingers into her jugular, seizing her life in his palm. He laughed as he watched her try to pry his hands from her throat, her legs swinging helplessly below her.
The brunette looked towards her husband, tears dotting the corners of her eyes. Time seemed to slow as she slowly lowered her hands away from the King’s, her petite body relaxing. She moved her fingers into a thumbs-up position.
“Jamai no-“ Attisun whispered, finally feeling his legs give out from underneath him. He collapsed onto his knees; watching as his wife smiled, giving off a breathless laugh.
“The King will be stopped...if not by us, then by our daughter surely…” She wheezed out, her body slowly growing still. Her hazel eyes turned to the King one last time, pure psychotic fury embedded in their core. “I...am...sure of it…” The emotion in her eyes slowly faded as her face relaxed. The only sound was that of the fire as both the King and Attisun stood motionless.
After a short minute, Galterius laughed.
“That woman spoke of bullshit.” He turned his head towards Attisun; who was still in shock. He let go of the now dead woman’s throat. The body dropped to the ground with a harsh thump. Attisun watched her motionless figure; time slowing even more.
“Complete bullshit!” The King repeated, laughing at the grief-stricken face of his former colleague. “Your daughter won’t live to stop me! Do you honestly believe that she will live past tonight? You really are incompetent.”
“You- you jackass!” Attisun spat, regaining composure. Madness overtook him. Pure fury washed over him like a tidal wave over the shore. He swung his right arm out, a jet stream of pure wind rushing towards the King like a bullet; sharp and quick. A cloud of dust rose from the pressure; swirling like a mass, growing in size. A single voice rose above the cloud, raspy and full of emotion.
“You leave my daughter out of this, she didn’t do shit. You are blinded by the power, the strength you wield. You use that blindness as a weapon, deciding to single out my family. You are no king! You let your people starve in front of you. You laugh as they beg at your feet for mercy. Tyrant’s like you won’t last, your Highness. You must know that by now. Think back on the revolt at Amseralda. That was just the start, sir, and I’ll be damned if my daughter doesn’t live to see your pitiful reign fall.” Attisun’s lips quivered as he spoke. He stumbled to the right, using his foot to stabilize him. He looked towards the battered body of his wife one last time, a single tear falling from his eye.
“Goodbye, hun. I’ll join you soon,” His head turned to the direction where he last saw his daughter. “I believe in you, Katsai. Prove to Galterius that he is wrong.” He smiled, looking at the King. Galterius’s stance wavered.
“You do know I am right here? It seems that I have driven you to madness! How amazing! I wouldn’t think it possible to drive the calm and logical Attisun to insanity! Ha, I guess it works wonders to take everything away from a man. Ah, we should really cut the chit chat. I have to meet Bismore to discuss the harvest of the Nohire region. I’ll make this quick.” The King sighed, his palm igniting once more.
“I am not going to give you the satisfaction.” The wind swirled around the King’s flames. The flames turned in a funnel, concealing Attisun from the view of the King.
Attisun gave off a hefty sigh, using the remainder of his strength to pick up the body of his wife. He held her cold form against his chest, looking down at her peaceful face. He gave a light kiss to her forehead. He turned on his heel, staring into the green flames.
“I’m not going to win this, am I?” His voice cracked as he chuckled emptily. “Good luck, Katsai...We will meet again soon.” Attisun took a hesitant step forward; his body soon being engulfed in the flames. He held his wife as the flames burned against his skin.
“We love you, Kat.”