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  • Writer's pictureManyaa Dikshit

The Divergent Hero

Upon the day the sky turns red,

the ruler counts till her day of bed,

the abandoned Queen rolls the dice,

whilst the chosen one plots of vice.

The forest is littered with bodies, blood and carnage. Red, blue and black are the new colours of what was once a harmonious, tender forest, which has now become the stage of a cruel war.

The air, which would generally be rich in sound from a nearby town and a forest full of wildlife, is now heavy with the screams of dying fighters and the scent of their blood, enough to destroy whatever courage is left in the survivors.

The dead and wounded are abundant and lay in heaps around the forest, and the fighters' faces are grim with agony and despair, yet they fight on.

Some have succumbed to hysteria and are no longer capable of moving, let alone defending themselves, while others fight by only focusing on their enemy and not the carnage around them.

The toll on both nature and humanity is disastrous. It'll likely take generations before this forest has recovered. Its explicit gore, rubble and broken siege engines have taken the place of bushes, flowers and trees.

Ophelia stared at the castle above the forest.

Eleven slim, round towers dominate the skyline of this massive castle and are connected by large, wide walls made of bluestone.

Tall, expansive windows are scattered thinly around the walls in seemingly perfect symmetry, along with overhanging crenelations filled with archers and artillery.

A moderate gate with great wooden doors, a regular bridge and large crenelations guard the only passage into the castle built upon a mountain top, and it's the only way in if you can make it, that is.

The hero Queen in this castle, Yanfie. Ophelia and Yanfie had been friends, that is until she ordered the execution of Ophelia's parents.

'Queen,' Ophelia scoffed. The only thing Yanfie was was a killer.

"I'm coming for you, Hillcrest."

Yanfie stood in her room, looking at the war below. The Governor-General was yelling. She looked at the chosen one, the hero. Blair looked scared. She should be; Ophelia was a scary person.

"Half our soldiers are dead, we're running low on food, and morale is at an all-time low! Your Majesty, if we were to surrender, I'm sure the Fallen Queen would-"

"I don't suggest making any assumption about what Ophelia would do or would not do, Alus," Yanfie snapped. "She will not spare me, you or anyone in this castle responsible for her parent's death. We surrender, and she sends us all to the grave. Your job is to keep the night going on. Ophelia cannot use her powers to the full extent during nighttime. "

Alus growled but backed down. This is how Yanfei always was. Cruel, controlling and manipulative. “Go to bed, hero, you will need your power. We end this war tomorrow.”

Ophelia started at the other side. Yanfie would strike today. She looked at the village she had once called home. She’d asked all her guards to leave her. She just needed to see the village once more before she left it forever.

The road that led to Laewaes was torn to pieces. Grass filled the labyrinth of cracks and sand covered whatever was left. The crisp and clean looking town now looked more like a jungle as trees and gardens grew beyond their now unkempt boundaries.

Most doors still stood sturdy in their frames. They were a little dirty, but if you only focused on the doors you'd expect people to come out as if nothing had changed. Many walls and balconies had collapsed.

Distracted by her daydreaming, Ophelia didn’t notice Blair behind her.

“Madam,” Blair whispered.

Ophelia snapped her head in the direction of the voice. On seeing it was just a girl she relaxed.

“You really shouldn’t be here you know, it’s not safe,” Ophelia stated.

“I’ll bet,” Blair giggled.

“Excuse me?”

“Abandoned Queen.”

Alus’s voice reached Ophelia’s ears but it was a second too late. Blair grabbed her by her hair and Alus shoved a potion down her throat. Ophelia kicked and screamed but it was no use. Slowly, everything went black.

The pain from Yanfie's wound flared up with an intensity unlike ever before. Something's wrong, something frighteningly wrong. Surely this pain would stop soon. Surely there's an end to this. But, unfortunately, Yanfie wasn't so sure. Several voices echoed through her head. Some telling her everything will be fine; others told her it won't be.

Her entire body was trembling now. Weak and exhausted, it cost all her remaining strength to keep fighting. Suddenly it came back to her.

"The hero, Blair."

"Looking for me?" Blair's voice caused Yanfie's head to shoot up.

Blair was smiling as though she had just won the war. However, Yanfie had a nagging suspicion that she just had.

"You, you were supposed to be on my side," Yanfie hissed.

"Your side?" Blair laughed. "I was never on 'your side'. All I ever wanted was the throne. To do so, I needed to get rid of your dear cousin, Ophelia and you. Ophelia is powerful; I could never have defeated her without your military support, and well after she was taken care of, you were hardly a problem. You're constantly shouting at your supporters, making them miserable; it was quite easy to turn them against you."

From the shadow, Alus appeared.

"My Queen, apologies, former Queen," Alus grinned as he spoke.

Yanfie laughed.

"Of course, 'the chosen one plots of vice.' You weren't planning on killing just Ophelia; you wanted to kill me as well. You wanted my crown.'

"Bravo Yanfie, bravo, and now, you must leave this world," Blair states.

Yanfie waited for the blow, the critical hit which would kill her, but she felt nothing. She opened her eyes and laughed. Blair and Alus were gone, leaving her to rot. Soft moans and grunts Yanfie's mouth. This was it. Everything she had done, wanted. Slowing, she shut her eyes.

Ophelia couldn't feel.. anything. How wonderful, how comforting. No pain, no discomfort, no anything. Just sweet nothings. Soon Ophelia would feel nothing forever.

'The abandoned Queen, roll the dice.' Clearly, Ophelia had rolled the wrong move by helping the girl. Her parents would never be avenged, the family line would never claim the throne and would cease to exist with her death.

'My wrong roll.' Ophelia sobbed.

'My death,' Yanfie whispered.

'My eternal night," Blair grinned.

The prophecy was true, after all.

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tashvi shukla
tashvi shukla
Jul 17, 2021


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