I am an Everlock. Such a simple thought that fled so quickly. Why do we care about names anyways? Why does it matter to me that people know what my name is? Does my name mean anything to anyone at this point? It was all because of that damned fairy that I lost everything in the first place. Ask anyone on the street and they will go on about ‘Elysewhyr this’ and ‘Elysewhyr that.’ No one remembers the Everlock because no one here saw things how I did. My visions of grandeur included barren fields covered in the Darkness and people doing as they wished. That’s not what the others wanted, so they looked for a ‘hero,’ someone to bring back the light. If only she wasn’t so ‘perfect’ in every way possible. Bitch.
I would have brought the world to its knees if my plan continued. The fields were rotting and the forests were burning, but she had to ‘fix’ everything. If she didn’t have the enchantments she had on everything she wore, then she wouldn’t stand a chance. I hate her and every single thing about her, so why am I sitting with her right now? Her pink, frilly hair sickens me to no end. The way she flashes that amulet irks me, especially the way it just radiates sunlight. I would strip her down just to push her into the Void if I could. ‘But Emily, you can’t touch me. My rings negate-‘ Uh-huh, blah blah blah. Everything you are counters everything I am, I get it. Don’t offer to give me more food, you nuisance; I’m not hungry.
“Emmeline, that dress is beautiful,” Elyse gawked. I think of her as Elyse because she likes her full name… and I don’t. If it sounded better than it did, I would just call her ‘E,’ or nothing at all, but I’m obliged to respond to her, the Empire makes that so.
“Thanks,” I replied. I wasn’t in the mood for conversation, especially with those child-faced scribes constantly staring at me. Yes, half of my face is black. Yes, a good amount of my hair is white while the rest is brown. Yes, my right eye is black and yes, I can send you into the darkest pits of the Void with it alone. However, I ‘can’t do that’ because it ‘disturbs the peaceful Empire’ or whatever. I don’t care about the Empire, I’m only here because you have a means of pushing me out, Elyse. You could never kill me, I know that much, but I can’t stand to be so close to you. I don’t know why it matters that I’m here or a continent over. The only reason I’m still here is because I don’t want to give up my fortress. I’ve grown accustomed to it, after all, with the black marble walls and floors. ‘This is so distasteful,’ Elyse said before in her shrill voice. ‘You should really let some light in sometimes, Emmeline.’ Don’t call me that, you… whore. You’re not actually a whore, I don’t think, but it’s all I can think of right now.
“Emmeline, has the situation with Farrenfall been taken care of?” You eat your meat like a little girl, cutting tiny pieces to pop into your perfect mouth.
“What of it? They do not pester me anymore.” I don’t like those dogs in Farrenfall. They only want to hunt and live like animals, so I treat them like animals. One misplaced fireball later and the Empire is at my door with their puny spears. Just because you have a spear that emits light doesn’t mean I can’t snuff it out, you children.
“They pester me,” she laughed. I hate that laugh. “They complain that you don’t listen to reason and you just see them as canines.”
“Well they are, aren’t they?” I fired back. I could see the look on her face before I even looked at her. Farrenfall’s leader, Ki’hem, was in the room at the same table we were sitting at. I heard his threatening growl, like he could even do anything to me. Go dig up a bone, boy. “What I mean to say is that if they have a problem with me, they should direct it to me.”
“We do,” the dog snarled. I hate hearing them talk, so unnatural. “You threatened to cook one of our brothers last time we knocked on your door.”
I could feel Elyse’s ignorant glare. Stop looking at me, witch. “I did nothing of the sort.”
Ki’hem was going to bark something at me, but Elyse interjected, much like she always does. “We can come to an agreement. Lady Everlock,” she started. I hate when she gets all mom-like with me. It’s so annoying. “Will you please refrain from rotting the forests away at the preset boundaries? Anything else in your lines is fair game, so do as you want. We just ask that you don’t start destroying Farrenfall’s land.”
I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction of my compliance. “I may see what can be done.” It was the best she was going to get, and she knew that. She better, at least.
“Thank you. That wasn’t that hard at all, was it?” It was.
“Miss Verentau,” a little man across the table squeaked. Great, she invited everyone to this silly feast. It’s a waste of time, in my opinion. Male fairies are so weak and feminine. Why do they even exist at this point? I already know the answer, though. It’s so they can be daddies at home for their young while the female fairies fly around and look pretty. Waste of space.
“Did you hear Dr. Consier, Emmeline?” The pixie was talking to me again.
I wasn’t listening, so I nodded. “Of course.”
“And I’ll see what I can do.”
“You weren’t listening, were you? This is of the utmost importance, you know.”
“Did a little fella get stuck in a drainage pipe again?” I wasn’t about to pity them for their small size. Such genetics ought to mean that you’re bound for failure.
“I-I take offense to that, Miss-“ He probably couldn’t even slap me without breaking his wrist, judging from the sound of his voice.
Elyse cut him off. “We both do, Doctor.” She turned to me with a pleading look. “Will you listen to us? You own just as much land as any of us here and we all have to work together so this world can thrive.”
An orc with goblin minions around him started garbling about me, so I looked over at them. “Care to share with the whole table, Lek’nak?” Such a silly name.
He, or she, I don’t know if they even have genitals, looked to their minions, then back to Elyse to address her instead of me. Typical. “Lady Elysewhyr, we are worried that the country of Aylryssandia has intentions that go completely against our visions. We worry that they don’t want to help any of us.” Hah, we don’t.
“Of course she does, Lord Lek’nak. Aylryssandia is going to work with us because their leader is a kind, competent, and powerful woman. Right, Emmeline?” She was trying to make me feel better.
I just noticed that my arms were crossed. How long have they been like that? “Absolutely.” I’ll agree with her if it meant that she was complimenting me. It was one of her only ways to get me to agree to anything.
“Right. Now, back to what Dr. Consier was bringing up, reports in the Fae Kingdom have been finding that there is an increasing amount of magical power originating from your domain.” Oh yeah, that. “Could you tell us about what you were doing that uses so much power?”
“How were these reports done?” I know the faulty laws the Empire put on magic use, something about not being able to destroy the world, but I also know the laws on spies.
Elyse looked to the fairy boy, who spoke up in his frilly voice again. “M-Miss, a village near the border is being affected. Its citizens have become lethargic and find it difficult to farm.”
Maybe you should lay off the sugar. “Are you insinuating that I am draining the life of your people, because that is a high accusation.”
“N-no no no, that isn’t it at all. I- uh, it was probably a mistake.” That’s right it was.
“We won’t overlook this, Doctor,” the pixie came to his side for aid. If there were any more of her, I’d resolve to genocide. Unfortunately, that is outlawed. How did I get put under these restricting, demeaning laws? “I will send our best researchers to figure out what is going on in the village, I promise.”
“Th-thank you, Empress Verentau.” I’m the Empress, not her. She gave herself that title to make everyone else feel better about me having any kind of power. I was always the Empress, not that pink-haired bitch. Thankfully, she stopped talking for everyone else to hear. Sadly, she was still trying to make conversation with me.
“Emmeline, I know you may fear for your safety out here,” she started.
“I don’t,” I interrupted.
“…I know you may be cautious out here, but did you have to bring them?” She was talking about my guards. They were just Xin’ier, the Burning Fiend and Xinex, the Cryo-Demon. What was so bad about them? Just because they are the result of two infinitely powerful beings put together doesn’t mean they only want to destroy everything. Two each, that is.
“I did. They make fun conversation.”
“I could only imagine.” She was afraid of them, I could tell. Xin’ier is a massive stone golem with an equally massive stone shield. His sword could cleave her little head off if he accidentally stretched too much, and he could set her aflame by breathing in her direction. Xinex, on the other hand, is just as tall but was made of steel instead. The good kind, too, since I’m not one to skimp out on defense. His helmet had an imprint of Xi’s face, an ice golem that once looked like a bulky skeleton. When I mashed the four beings into two, they got much stronger, yet their personalities mixed a bit too much. Sometimes, I never know what they’re going to say.
“The Empress is not afraid of you or any of your entourage.” Oh gods above, not now, Xinex. Why would you say that?
“Excuse me, but did you just say-“
I had to fix this before she threw another hissy fit, so I interrupted her, “No, must have been a hiccup. I’ll make sure its memory is fixed when we return home.”
She gave me a sigh. “Alright then. Those golems are dangerous, Emmeline. Why do you mess with them?”
“And automated soldiers are such dreadful creations now?” I told myself I wasn’t going to get heated with her again, but why waste your people’s lives when you didn’t have to?
“No, I just mean that they are spontaneous and… dangerous.”
“Not if you make them right, you know. Your scientists may end up killing a few innocent citizens with their failures, but mine don’t. Do you know why? Because I’m the scientist in my kingdom.” It’s true; she tried to have independent but not sentient soldiers made to defend this waste of space, but they ended up going rampant and burnt a few homes down. She hated hearing about it, so I loved to bring it up.
“Enough of that, Everlock.” Uh oh, she was mad at me. She never called me just ‘Everlock’ unless she was furious. I gave her a kind smirk, but her smile was gone now. Just because I’m better than you with my magic doesn’t mean you should get those pink little underpants of yours into a twist. I’d guess their pink, after all. Do you even wear underpants, or just those tight leggings you’re always wearing? I wish I had Enrin, she could have gone to bed with you and then told me afterwards. Oh, it’s been a long time, Enrin. Still sleeping with the Undergods, I would guess.
I thought maybe now would be the time to play nice so that she didn’t go complain to the Empire. It made me feel bad seeing her upset, after all. No one else had to hear me get all sentimental, though, so I threw a few messages into her mind, even including a friendly voice. “Listen, Ellie, I’m sorry I’m in such a bad mood. I just had a bad trip, but I’m happier being here.” From my peripherals, I saw her look over at me, so I knew it must have been working, so I continued. “Maybe we could go have a cup of tea together later? I’ll even listen to you go on about all of your toys.” I was talking about her enchanted items. Some of them had some pretty good use, so I liked to see what she was making. I saw a smile creep up on her face and when I glanced, she nodded. I’ve got you right under my thumb, Elyse.
Dinner went by like it always did when I was forced to come to these ridiculous gatherings. Leaders of the weaker settlements complained about nuisances like wolves or raiders while the stronger leaders complained mainly about me. It’s not my fault a Dire Hawk raided one of your villages, it just happened to come from the land that I own. At least I don’t breed Dire Hawks… Gillzen does.
Gillzen is one of my scouts. Him and his soulmate, Gillza, are only happy out in the wild. They have chased away quite a few larger predators and killed almost anything you can think of that lives out in my forests. The Dire Hawks were his idea, of course. He wanted pets to do the scouting work so he could just hunt, but I guess one flew into the Fae Kingdom not that long ago. Again, not my fault.
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