The Fall of King Onyx

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
White vs. Black, Good vs. Evil, the longest running battle of all time...

Submitted: January 17, 2009

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Submitted: January 17, 2009

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King Onyx gazed forlornly across the battlefield as the war raged below him. Things were not looking good. From the balcony of the throne room high in his towering fortress, he caught the sunlight as it glinted off of the silver armor of the forces of the Ivory Kingdom below while they steadily pushed back his own troops, slowly advancing one victory after another until they would finally end up at the black gates of his stronghold. Already King Onyx had lost one castle to his enemy and had been forced to retreat to the far end of his kingdom and take refuge behind the dark walls of this, his last citadel. He would not retreat again.

Booted footsteps echoed throughout his audience chamber as someone entered behind King Onyx and came to rest at the doorway of the balcony. The King did not look away from the battle to greet the caller. The messenger, his voice revealing him to be Captain Ash of the King’s Royal Guard, wasted no time in delivering his somber report.

“My Lord,” Ash began cautiously; it was not good news, “The Obsidian Knights have fallen to a band lead by Queen Blanche of the Ivory Kingdom herself. The Queen is now advancing directly on this castle.”

King Onyx did not turn around. This news was unfavorable indeed.

“My Lord,” Ash continued, “If we do not answer this imminent threat immediately—”

“Send the Bishop of Gethen,” King Onyx interrupted.

“The Bishop of Gethen?” the Captain replied in surprise, “My Lord, the Bishop’s force is not in a position to be able to intercept Queen Blanche.”

“I do not expect them to intercept, Captain,” King Onyx replied irritably, “Merely to distract. Have him rally his men to the north ridge along the border.”

“But Sir, we cannot defend that position. The Bishop and his men would be vulnerable to an ambush,” Ash protested.

King Onyx spun around and glared fiercely at the Captain. “Do not presume that your position grants you the privilege of questioning my orders, Captain!” the King fumed. Ash bowed humbly before his lord and accepted the rebuke. When he had calmed down some, King Onyx continued, “Queen Blanche will not be able to resist an opportunity to fell the Bishop of Gethen. When she learns of his location, she will immediately divert course to intercept. When she does, I want you to take a small band of men and make straightway for the Ivory Kingdom. If we can get behind their lines, we will have the tactical advantage and Queen Blanche will be forced to pull back to defend her kingdom.”

Seeing the strategic genius of the King’s plan, Ash smiled wickedly and quickly headed for the door. Before he left, King Onyx called his name, and the captain turned to face his liege.

“If you perform well and manage to infiltrate the depths of the Ivory Kingdom, there will be a promotion for you,” King Onyx said, stroking the captain’s ego. Captain Ash again grinned viciously and then hurried to attend to his tasks.

As King Onyx watched the Captain leave, he pitied the poor man. Thought the Captain was fiercely loyal, he was little more than a pawn in this war. King Onyx would sacrifice the his life, and the life of any of his subjects, without hesitation if it meant victory. The fact that he had already sent his lady, Queen Melanie, to her death to gain footing in the battle, should attest to his conviction.

“Summon to me Assistant Bishop Merrick,” King Onyx ordered. A court attendant scurried off without a word. The King then returned to the balcony to watch as his dominion shrank before his very eyes. This had better work.

 
***
 

Not long after Captain Ash’s departure, Assistant Bishop Merrick arrived in the King’s courtroom. A young man, the youngest ever to bear the title, he wore long charcoal colored robes of simple design, tied loosely around the waist, and bore a large cross on a heavy chain around his neck. His black hair was pulled back and matted against his sharp scalp. His trim face bore no hair or blemishes of any kind and would have been considered handsome were it not for his menacingly dark and calculating eyes.

“You sent for me, My Liege?” the Assistant Bishop asked upon entering the chamber.

King Onyx was sitting upon his throne analyzing his tactical situation. He looked up to speak to the Assistant Bishop. “Yes, I’m afraid I have some bad news,” he replied coldly, “It seems your predecessor, the Bishop of Gethen, has fallen in battle recently.”

If he was surprised, dismayed, or pleased by this news, Assistant Bishop Merrick showed no sign. He merely asked the King, “How may I serve you, My Lord?”

The King smiled at his obsequious manner and replied, “You are now the Bishop of Gethen, Bishop Merrick. And I have a task for you.”

“Anything in the service of my King,” Bishop Merrick bowed deeply.

“You will join my Knights of the Raven Claw at the eastern boarders of the land. There you will prepare for an offensive against the Ivory Kingdom.”

“When is this offensive to take place, My Lord?” Bishop Merrick asked.

“Soon,” the King replied vaguely, “You will know when the time is right.”

“Am I to command troops, then?” The Bishop questioned.

“You will take command of the infantry there. The Knights of the Raven Claw will retain their own authority.”

“Will this not leave you vulnerable, My Lord?” Bishop Merrick asked carefully, “With the Knights of the Raven Claw absent from this castle, you will be unguarded should the White Knights manage to break our lines.”

King Onyx briefly contemplated the Bishop’s argument but quickly dismissed it. “The walls of my fortress are formidable and strong,” he replied confidently, “I will be safe here. No, this is too important. This maneuver may very well turn the tide of this war. It is a chance we must take. Now go. Make your preparations and report to the rendezvous in haste.”

“As you wish,” Bishop Merrick responded obediently and left.

The pieces were in all in play now, King Onyx thought, it was only a matter of time.

 

 ***

As dusk settled in through the open curtains of the balcony, King Onyx paced, impatiently awaiting news of Captain Ash and Bishop Merrick’s assault. It had been over four hours and the King had not received so much as a carrier pigeon’s note of how the maneuver was transpiring. Of course, if the charge had been a success and Captain Ash had in fact managed to infiltrate the Ivory Kingdom, King Onyx may not receive word for some time. He decided for the time being that as long as he did not learn that the operation was a failure, then he would have to assume that all was going according to plan. For now, no news was good news.

A rustling from the balcony curtains caught his attention and he glanced over in time to see a tall, lithe figure step gracefully from behind the drapery into his throne room. The feminine silhouette stood for a moment in the waning sunlight, a trim, ominous looking sword balanced deftly in her right hand. As she stepped forward, King Onyx was startled to recognize his intruder. She was trim and athletic with her long white hair pulled up into a fancy weave atop her gently rounded scalp. She was adorned with the striking armor worn by the White Knights of the Ivory Kingdom and her cool, calculating gaze struck fear into the very heart of the King.

“Queen Blanche,” King Onyx managed to stutter as she stopped just inside the throne room, “what an… unexpected surprise.”

 The Queen did not move any closer to King Onyx but maintained a stature of readiness, like a cat toying with a cornered mouse, prepared to pounce at an instant.

“Come now, Lord Onyx,” Queen Blanche replied, “You knew it would only be a matter of time before I put an end to your madness.”

The King vainly attempted to hide his fear with confidence, and when that failed, he masked it with anger. “Foul wench! Do not presume to speak to me as an equal. I am in every way your superior!”

The Queen laughed and said smugly, “Still driven blindly by delusions of grandeur, I see. You must have known that attacking my people was a foolish gesture; one that would cost you everything.”

Now it was King Onyx’s turn to be smug as he replied, “You forget, Lady Blanche, that it was your troops who made the first advance. I merely responded to what was taken as adverse action against my subjects.”

“With the army you were amassing here in you kingdom, we had no choice but to take a defensive stature,” Queen Blanche countered, “But it was your troops who drew first blood. And for that you will pay.”

Cautiously, the Queen advanced into the chambers of King Onyx, sword at the ready. From beneath his robes, King Onyx produced a dagger of his own, though it was no match for the impressive blade of the Queen. Outmatched, the king began to retreat slowly to the far reaches of his audience chambers.

“You may have the advantage here, Witch,” the King growled, “But very soon I think you will find the tables turned. You will soon realize it was not such a good idea for you to leave your kingdom undefended.”

Queen Blanche regarded his words and tossed them aside carelessly. “I supposed you are referring to you little band of insurgents led by Assistant Bishop Merrick?” She smiled satisfyingly as the blood drained from the King’s dark face. “I’m sure my White Knights have finished dispatching of them by now. Did you really think I would let you slip out of my grasp to pursue that coward, the Bishop of Gethen, while your own troops slipped past us in the process? If so, then you are a bigger fool than I suspected.”

King Onyx’s final courage failed him. Backed into the far corner of his own chambers, he froze with terror. All his plans, all his cunning, had been systematically dismantled and destroyed by this woman. Obviously Bishop Merrick had been right. He should have maintained his personal guard here with him. But it was too late for that now. He knew that his kingdom was lost. If he were not careful, too soon his life would be lost as well.

He had to run. The closed doors to his chamber were not far off. If he could distract the Queen somehow, he could make a break for the doors and summon his servants to cover his escape.

Stalling for time, he said to Queen Blanche, “It seems we have reached a stalemate, My Lady. You may have me cornered, but I assure you that you will not be able to take me alone. And you have no one here to assist you.”

The Queen smiled knowingly and said, “Ah, now it is you who is being presumptuous, My Lord. Don’t be too certain of what you think you know.”

Suddenly, the massive wooden doors of the audience chamber crashed inward, wood splinters flying in every direction. To King Onyx’s final horror, a gallantly decorated, white warhorse strode into the chamber carrying a warrior dressed in gleaming silver armor. The crest of his shield named him as one of Queen Blanche’s White Knights of the Ivory Kingdom.

With his only escape route cut off, King Onyx knew all was lost. Defeated, he gazed solemnly at Queen Blanche and as the White Knight lowered his formidable sword to the King’s throat, she smiled.

“Checkmate.”


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