On the Eve

On The Eve: 1

Queen Jocasta – Sovereign Ruler of the West

I could not stomach the look of them. Misguided wretches, gathered in elated celebration of what is perhaps the most depressing of travesties.

Why does man celebrate the crushing of another man? This will forever elude me. You emerged victorious, an outcome which I am forced to regrettably concede through gritted teeth. Perhaps congratulations are in order, as my meticulously placed pieces were unforeseeably toppled. You conquered that which was unconquerable. Does it make you feel good, may I ask? Does your assuredly short-lived victory provide the shallow satisfaction that you so seek; soothing your insatiable desire to dominate?

You are nothing, wretch. Your victory is intertwined with the tragedy that is our history. Hear me, conqueror. You are weak. You are nothing but the hollow, human desire that has presented itself time and time again in these forsaken lands. Long before you were even a thought, you have been nothing.

We will rise again, of that I assure you. The sound of my armies’ iron and steel will echo across this domain like never before. Your meager triumph shall be effortlessly stamped out like the final burning ember of a desperately lit fire.

Enjoy your spoils tonight, conqueror.

For you will soon suffocate on the fiery blades of Hell.

 

On The Eve: 2

King Jordain – Lord of the East

Fools.

I foster no sympathy for the slaughtered. The foul. The wretched, sniveling swine. I swear to God himself this day was ordained by the truest forces overseeing this realm. She dared challenge me? Of all living, breathing occupants of this once revered land, she called it upon herself to prove my equal?

All these years. All this time, spent in a wondrous stupor of remorse and regret. The pitiful nights. The restless thoughts, wandering incessantly to depths I shudder to fathom. The pain of uncertainty. The constant dream of squandered potential. The sheer, genuine hurt accumulated through years of heartbreak. And this is her decision?

relished the kill. The soft, soothing slice of my blade stripping the pathetic soul from his trembling corpse. The look on her pale, bloodied face as my gaze lifted to observe those mortified eyes.

My armies need not pursue her.

A sweeter, more satisfying sensation this world shall never produce.

 

On the Eve: 3

Antony – Commander of Queen Jocasta’s Army

We have taken refuge in Clarmont, the first safe village we crossed following our withdrawal. If one can even call it a village, that is. There is little more than battered huts and peasant farmers here. Far less than what one would deem an ideal location for which to retreat.

My lieutenants, those fortunate enough to survive the onslaught, are stricken with frustration and shame for failing our Queen. Jocasta has not spoken since our arrival, save her initial introduction to the village elders – who were so shocked upon meeting her they could hardly muster a word. There is little to speak of in terms of provisions, and much guilt felt among the soldiers for what resources the elders have provided. The occupants here have been more than generous, as they are vehemently supportive of the Queen’s campaign to overtake that pig of a man who calls himself King of the East. Jordain is a foolhardy dictator and disgusting excuse for a ruler. I find it astonishing that he ever had a place in her heart to begin with; his reputation of merciless tyranny well abound in these lands.

Yesterday’s miscalculations are surely to ignite fury within the deepest depths of Jocasta’s very being. Yet we, her loyal defenders, shall not falter. We shall remain resolute in our entirety, as every last one of us salivate in anticipation for our next opportunity to face them on the battlefield. Our leader will surely find solace amidst the unwavering faith of the entire regiment.

I swear it, that man will rue the day he clamored out of his whore of a mother. Our arrows will rain pure Hell next we meet, casting a darkness blacker than the evil residing in the soul we shall soon strip from Jordain’s body.

These lands shall once again be united as my Queen rises victorious, or so help me God we will tear this world apart trying.

 

On the Eve: 4

Favian, Royal Record-Keeper & Historian of the East

The West shall never comprehend the world the way we Easterners do.

What ire could have possibly made Jocasta think she could overtake us? The East and West have co-existed, as agreed, for twelve winters now. Why is she suddenly afflicted with the desire to destroy? I cannot make sense of it.

I desperately long for the sensibility which we enjoyed many years ago. An era of peace. A time when Jordain and Joscasta ruled with the passion and love that this world deserves. Their deep affection for one another poured out over all these lands. It was a time of joy; true, unabridged happiness.

And then that awful, destructive separation. To this very day, I still find pause when asked if my recollections of the event are truly complete. The realm relies on my accounts for candidacy of what transpired, but I shall forever foster my internal doubts. I have written what I know to be true; Jocasta assuming the role of primary aggressor. She betrayed Jordain, this is well known. Yet it is a reluctant truth that confuses, for I still do not fully understand his decision to allow her sovereignty in the West. The splitting of these lands was perhaps a more hurtful dagger than the one Jocasta cast into the heart of my liege through her betrayal.

I have seen families ripped apart. I have witnessed brothers fighting brothers; sons fighting fathers. The darkest depths of depravity, all surfacing in the name of East versus West.

The gaping wound which separates these lands must once again be mended, this much I know. We cannot go on as warring factions.

The clarity of this shines with blinding abundance.

 

On the Eve: 5

Antony – Commander of Queen Jocasta’s Army

An emissary arrived today with a most perplexing message. He hurriedly navigated his way through Clarmont’s cobblestone streets and somehow obtained an audience with Queen Jocasta herself. The dispatch appeared to be one of grave import, as he was quickly ushered into Jocasta’s inner chambers following the delivery. No one yet knows what information was contained in the message.

Morale is still elevated. Tomorrow we meet with Hadrian, who has offered his assistance for our efforts at taking the East. Hadrian may be crass, but his Northern legions will surely add much needed strength to our rallying attack. These lands must again be united, as our Queen is the only hope of rebuilding the future we so desire.

Much planning is required if we are to rise victorious. Perhaps I will ask for an audience with this emissary, seeing what games Jordain attempts to play.

That man is more manipulative than the misleading colors of a chameleon.

 

On the Eve: 6

King Jordain

She knows exactly where my heart lies. Buried deep within that sheath of angst, she knows the truth.

She knows I cannot raise my blade to her. This foolhardy campaign is fueled by her insatiable desire for revenge; her misguided malfeasance. Yet reality continues to elude her. The entirety of her army’s morale rests upon the simple assertion that I, King Jordain, committed the treacherous act for which I was accused. Why choose now to invade – does she wish to reunite East with West? Her accusations, ones which she herself believed to be true, were the very catalyst that ripped these lands apart to begin with.

And now, here I sit with the Watchful Eye above penetrating my soul. On my honor, as God himself can attest, not a thing occurred between the vice-regent and myself those many years ago. The divisive plot was a meticulously crafted story by that scum of a Hand, Ulric. The same Hand who deceived her, my Queen, for all these years. Slicing his throat was the greatest gift the Eye above could ever bestow, and for that I am eternally grateful.

We will hold these lands. God willing, we will reunite.  Jocasta shall at last know the truth.

 

On the Eve: 7

Lady Elaine, former Vice-Regent to King Jordain

Jordain,

I sincerely hope that my letter finds you well. I was just informed that the Queen attempted to overtake your lands. What is going on? I must be informed, as I fear transgression of my own stead if my suspicions prove correct.

The agreement we came to those many years ago left no party wanting. What event could possibly have transpired that could compel Jocasta to violate such a generous contract? I suppose she got what she deserved, if what I heard of the battle is to be true.

I cannot help but think that this is about finally putting you down for what she thinks we did. Our lives needn’t have gone this way, were it not for that awful, sniveling, pathetic excuse that you called Hand. I only hope my scouts’ reports held back the true details. Ulric deserved a slow, agonizing death.

Please respond with haste, my King. I must know if I need to increase fortifications.

Ever loyal,

Elaine

Put Ulric’s head on a spike, until every last piece of him turns to rot.

 

On the Eve: 8

Antony – Commander of Queen Jocasta’s Army

I am conflicted.

Queen Jocasta has recalled our armies to Clarmont. All of them. Each and every weary, exhausted regiment is to report to this tiny speck of a village in an attempt to regroup and finish what we began. My conflict stems not from my duty to my Queen, but from my fading confidence in victory. I fear our armies are not yet strong enough to launch another assault on King Jordain and the Eastern Lands. Lest the Gods invoke a miracle, I cannot foresee this ending in triumph for my Queen.

Hadrian’s reinforcements from the North shall prove invaluable, to be certain. His armored mares are legendary; their riders even more so. It is my sincere hope that Jocasta utilizes this rare advantage most efficiently. I cannot imagine that Jordain could expect Hadrian to have lent such a force to an army opposing the East, much less that of Jocasta’s. I was under the impress that years ago, the three were quite close to each other. But alas, I shan’t divulge rumors or delve in gossip. The politics behind this campaign are beyond me. My only purpose is to serve my Queen, and to that end I shall uphold my duties with utmost honor.

She is this land’s Radiant Beacon of Benevolence, and to the end of this Earth we shall follow.

 

On the Eve: 9

Hadrian Merlfang – Lord of the North

I told him it would end this way, the fool.

How many years now? Things never end as we intend. No, not ever. Our fresh, inexperienced selves, energized with the fervor of youth, see nothing but the ideal and the desired. Then, as it always is, the bitch that is reality bears its teeth; sinking its fangs into our ignorant dreams of yesteryear.

What is worse – knowing that Jocasta is on a false errand, yet I still participate as if I am none the wiser, or the fact that Jordain might actually come out on top after all this? I cannot say. I’ve grown tired of these earthly quarrels. My only role left to fill at this old, rotting age is to write the ending to a story that has far too long been authored. The time has come to usher our tired souls into the unknown darkness that lies beyond our meaningless comprehension.

I told him it would end this way, the fool.

 

On the Eve: 10

Queen Jocasta – Sovereign Ruler of the West

Lies.

They plague our souls, causing us to act in ways which we never believed ourselves capable. Yet we often cling to these falsities; desiring the reality we’ve fabricated over the painful truth that is life. Ignorance is bliss, they say. Perhaps there is some validity to the sentiment. But willful ignorance? There is no greater atrocity.

I have been deceived. All these years, lied to. Ulric, who, as Jordain’s Hand, was only charged with protecting the crown, came to me years ago with that crushing dispatch. News that the love of my life had been unfaithful, and intended to replace me as Queen with the Vice-Regent, Elaine. I believed him.

Last night I was greeted by an emissary who represented my former husband and King. Ulric’s journal, cataloguing his sadistic, manipulative thoughts, was presented to me. I was told Jordain has spent all these years tirelessly searching for anything to clear his name and prove his loyalty to me. After all this time, his efforts finally produced this journal. This, evil, disgusting journal that revealed everything he did was a lie.

Jordain’s actions, in light of this, have illustrated precisely the man I so fiercely loved. The sting of the irony is a dagger in my heart. He never shed his honor. He agreed to let me govern the Western lands. He conceded to my terms those many years ago, rather than waging a war that would cost the lives of thousands. And he did so knowing that my revolt was grounded in deceit. Despite his attempts to convince me otherwise, I refused to believe him. I believed Ulric’s fabricated tale of my husband’s infidelity. The enormity of my regret regarding this is inexplicable.

Tomorrow, we shall ride and face Jordain once again. My armies are not aware of the information this emissary has revealed. Tomorrow, all shall be unveiled.

On the eve of what will become a day fabled for ages, my mind is at ease.

There is no provider of solace equal to that of the unabridged truth.

 

On the Eve: 11

Gavin Yulesdale, Infantryman of the Queen’s Army

The wind, gently whistling through the trees is but the softest of sounds. Yet tonight, on the eve of this great battle, it is deafening; the only thing that can be heard amidst an army veiled by the silence of anticipation.

The skirmishes always seem to transpire in a way which never changes. The men on the front lines, the most expendable of the group, teethe and wither as the substances our generals have bestowed tighten their grip on those poor, ill-fated bodies. Without fail, they are given the strongest of ales and poppies, as all know that their place in battle is to break our opponents’ lines; but ultimately, to fall.  The smarter among us tend to say ’tis a fool’s errand, but care they do not. On occasion I find myself asking if I should pity them, as their fates are knowingly sealed. Still, there are times that I find myself envying them. Their simplistic views on life are admirable. Give them a flagon of ale and a well-breasted woman and there is little left to fill in their world of concern. Yes, at times I envy the ignorance of simple mindedness. The thought of releasing myself from the chains of my own mind are tempting, indeed.

Yet now I look ahead. I see the fortifications that have been laid and the defenses that await. It is comforting to realize the complexity of battle requires those that are willing to expire for those that are not. This war calls for men who are fully invested in the cause, truly willing to lay themselves down in the name of the greater good. We all need pawns, do we not? I pray that ours fight more passionately than King Jordain’s, as we are greatly outnumbered.

We shall soon hear Queen Jocasta’s bellowing, ominous horns of battle. I must prepare.


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