Siobhan had been sitting in the dark for years now. Perfectly still. Her eyes blinking occasionally, her heart beating with the thunderstorm force it always had. Her lips were blood-red and perfect, her eyes shifting like the shadows in the moonlight and the soft fluttering of wings always there, just out of the corner of your eye, on the limits of your hearing. Occasionally her fingertips would tap on the carved throne she sat in, occasionally she would sigh in a way that made the entire sithen shake with a storm gale.
There was nothing wrong with the Dark Queen. She was in control of her realm and with no words she ruled with a Teutonic fist accepting no failure no second-best efforts. Nothing but perfection was acceptable and woe to the one that approached her without being invited by the two guards at the base of her dais, their weapons ever at the ready, shining from each hours sharpening for the woman that they worshiped as their Goddess.
“Bring me Tsíoraíocht.”
Her voice was smooth, like a liquid velvet over your skin. It flirted with you, it terrified you. It made you jump in surprise and hold it as close to you as you could. It was seduction and sadness, joy and terror. It was the voice of Siobhan, used precisely the way she desired.
Her guard, in unison, turned and bowed to a single knee, and then, obeyed They did not show surprise that her voice was heard for the first time in centuries, they simply obeyed, without question and without thought. They walked in unison, perfect lock-step to a pillar not twenty feet from where they stood. They reached into their black and crimson tunics in unison and removed a hand from each. Not that which looked like a hand, but a hand. Rotted and decayed, the flesh barely clinging to it.
As one they touched them to the pillar and the skin regrew in an instant. Strong, feminine hands were there. Perfectly manicured in the Old Way. The nails left alone and the skin tattooed in bands of script none save the Queen could now read. The hands spread wide, the fingers as far apart as they could be as the Queen read from them. The noise was Darkness, the noise was Fear. The fingers lit aflame as each band of words were read.
The queen read louder, louder, louder still and the hands erupted in purple-black jets of flame and a long spear pushed through the solid stone of the pillar. The Queen, screaming like a gale in the night now as the final words were read sat back down and with a final utterance, sat back and let silence drop over the room again.
The spear hovered inches above the pillar and the guards each, again in perfect unison, reached for and took the spear in a single hand and walked with it to their Queen and dropped to a knee, tilting the spear as they dropped, its glowing tip missing the Queen’s face by less than that of a hair.
Siobhan, moving like the wind and darkness she was made from, reached and took the spear in one hand, a fluid motion that raised it high above her head as the guards were back at their posts, weapons at the ready, before the movement was complete.
The spear raised high in the air, the Court, summoned in ways unique to each, filed in by the few, then the dozens, finally the hundreds and even thousands. Each member of the court, from the smallest imp to the darkest shadows of Death stood before their queen, eagerly waiting for her words.
“These long years I have been I have been in thought. With the arrival of man, their technologies and war, we have been pushed to the limits of what we once were. We do not need belief in us to exist as the stories we told me to write say, no that was merely a safeguard.”
She stood slowly, shadows red as blood swirling with her as she did so. Her swords always at her back, shone with light that was not produced by a natural source. Her perfection was devastating and each and every soul in the room lost themselves for the merest moment as their Queen rose.
No one said anything to make them kneel. It was not the Queen’s custom to have all kneel before her, but as one, in a movement that shook far more than just the ground, they dropped in obeisance to Her that each of them knew was their Goddess, to Her that gave and took all of the things that they had ever had.
The Queen smiled, loving them all the more for this as she spoke, her voice a whisper.
“I am tired. I am so tired of having to respect them, to let them ruin which took us lifetimes. It is time my loves that we took back the world.”
She held the spear, Eternity, in her hands and slammed its tip into the stone dais. The spiderweb cracks were instantaneous and they spread to the entirety of the Grand Hall. Red and purple light erupted as the Queen spoke her final words.
“Let us take it all back my loves.”