Eteri knew that she was beat when her mother fell from the sky. She was hit, directly in her underbelly where the scales are the weakest, and fell. Her large scaly body shrinking and curling back into her more humanoid form. Many of the younger warriors, the squeamish ones, roared out in fear. The Queen had fallen but she roared back in anger. They were not going to retreat. The humans would only follow them. No, they would fight and die here with honor if they had too.
Like the well oiled machines that the humans used, the warriors followed her lead and they all dived. Eteri knew from the wind whistling in her hair and the curling of her stomach that this would be her very last battle. Everything would come to an end tonight.
“Eteri, Grand Duchess of Donair. But wait you abdicated the throne, you wanted to be a fighter than princess. Foolish choice in my humble opinion, but a mistake that fell in my favor.”
King Abdias was a tall man, packed with muscle. He loomed over her prone form but despite his height he still lacked that feeling of intimidation. He was not scary at all. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he would only talk to her from behind the bars of a cage.
Abdia continued to drone on. “You know that was a righteous battle that you held. Your last stand was grand and will probably be sung for many generations. Though I don’t think you will enjoy the part about being captured. That part I will make sure everyone remembers.”
Eteri honestly could not care who remembers what she did. In a hundred or so years nothing that happened would be remembered clearly. Humans would spin the tale in a hundred different ways and the truth would be lost under years of dusty understanding. But in a hundred years she would still be here with her memory no less blunted.
She still said nothing as Abdias continued to taunt her. There was no use in letting such a small man attempt to rile her up. Her kingdom may be gone for now, but when she left this place she would reclaim her kingdom and everything would go back to how it use to be. And life would go on.
“Oh, and Eteri did I show you what I did to your warriors? Your mother?”
Her heart stuttered. She had not be unaware of that she was the only one in the dark. She could not hear any of the young warriors whimpering or any of the veterans snarling. She was utterly alone in this damp underground. His question was a thread a small dangling on that begged to be pulled. But pulled threads led to unraveled scarves. Eteri stared at his smile, this thread, and he simply stared back. And like a too curious, too green child she pulled.
She shifted her position so that she was not merely lying on her side. Her eyes were better trained on his face as she sat up and all she could see was the sharpened knife in his smile. He hollered for someone to “bring her mother for Eteri to see” and as they waited he leant against the bars, to relaxed to remember to never give your back to a predator. The pride in humans was astounding.
“You know Eteri, there was a time when you and your people could have avoided all of this. If you had just taken the proposal I had.” Abdias sighed and Eteri never said a word.
The doors to the room were flung open and from the shadows that yawned across the floor, there were a lot of people coming in. Servants strained their arms as they carried the heavy object that was covered with a tarp. The king was practically shaking with the need to show her but Eteri felt the stuttering of her heart come to a complete stop. Whatever was under that trap was the remnants of her kin, and this would be the last image she would have of them.
The king smiled grandly. “Presenting,” Abdias cawed. “Queen and God-Mother of Donair and Dragons, Empress Reina!” The tarp was pulled away with a flourish and Eteri choked on the dust and dirt as she gasped.
Her mother, her beautiful and gorgeous queen mother. She was still in her reptilian form but petrified. Her face marked in a ferocious roar without the sound. But there was sound a harsh ringing that sounded like nails carving its way through glass. Abdias laughed and Eteri knew that the ringing, was her screaming out in utter horror.
She screamed out in natural voice, chanting words that should dispel illusions and wring out the truth but her magic wasn’t working. This was the ugly truth, it was no trick that Abdias’ magicians were using on her on with their paltry magic skills.
Her voice stopped as her thoughts silence. Slowly, the string she tugged unraveled and now there was nothing else to unmake. Everything was undone and now only a pile of string remained. She focused her attention on the king on her laughing face that screamed out his glee. He was on top of the world now, everything was underneath his feet and now he had shown such a hideous sight to his worse enemy that she screamed like a green girl. Eteri knew that in this moment his pride, his greed, would cloud him. His thoughts were illusions of grandeur now that no one stood to challenge him.
He turned his back to her again, as over to laugh through the cramps, and that was when she struck. Her hands reached out wrapping around his face and she let the magic run through her as she growled the words to accompany them. She didn’t even feel the servants and guards desperately attempt to pull them apart. She did not let go before she had finished her incantation and had left at least one scratch on that smiling face.
Eteri shoved him away from the cell bars, prowling back to the recesses of the cell. Her breath heated the air around her. Eteri could escape now, with the power, the pure anger running through her veins and the curse that she had just placed on the king she could very well escape and reclaim her kingdom. She could rally whatever was left of her subjects and raze humanity to the ground. But she wouldn’t because not all humans were bad. And the revenge she had planned would be so much sweeter than simple arson.
The king clutched his face, turning to look at her. She had split the skin underneath his eye, deep enough to scar. Eteri smiled and looked at her claws before returning her eyes to the rapid gazes of the humans.
“Everything you have,” she said slow and measured, “will one day be mine. And once I have it all I will make you watch as I destroy it.” The servants cowered behind the guards. One of the servants were muttering prayers to his god, praying for deliverance from the evil dragon before them. “Nothing will stop me from getting what rightfully belongs to me.”
“Seal her!” the king shouted as he rushed from the room. He was scared. Good, he should be because everything that she promised would come to fruition. Seal her all he wanted. She would get her revenge and then return to her own kingdom to be left alone.