A totally unprepared new Queen must learn the job on the fly in time to save the realm.
Da Bo's second-in-command rode through the village as fast as his horse could go without overturning the wagon carrying its very important cargo, namely his seriously injured Warlord, the aforementioned Da Bo. The ⁰unlikely survivor of an accidental burning of half of his face followed by a quite deliberate stab in the eye, he was in fact, still alive, but without immediate attention, that condition will change, and not for the better.
The driver of the wagon, Oto Lep, had not been Da Bo's subordinate for long, but that didn't keep him from contemplating the possible opportunity this could present for him. Were his warlord to succumb to his terrible injuries before he got to a healer… but Oto Lep concluded that he would gain no honor by failing to protect his warlord, or by killing him while he was injured and defenseless. His warriors would never trust such a man. No, he would have to await Da Bo's recovery at the very least, unless he died during the healer's attempts to save him.
When Oto Lep finally reached his destination, the healer had just delivered a baby and was handing the boy off to one of his female attendants. He then walked out to the wagon, looked at Da Bo, turned to Oto Lep and asked, "He lives?"
"He does", was the answer.
As the healer examined Da Bo's ruined face he commented, "Better a good death in battle than this. Help me get him inside."
As they maneuvered Da Bo onto a table, he began to regain consciousness.
"We need him to sleep. There will be pain.", The Healer said as he prepared a drink to calm Da Bo and hopefully put him to sleep. The Warlord drank and became still, but not unconscious.
" You will tell me what you do as you do it, Healer." Da Bo croaked. "Is this understood?"
"Indeed, Great One. Your opponent did you a service, I see."
"How so?", asked Oto Lep.
The Healer, making sure to direct his answer to Da Bo, said," They did not pierce the eye on the unburnt side of your face, which would have left you completely blind." He then picked up a nasty-looking bladed tool and said, "I must first remove the destroyed skin from your face. Try and be still. Oto Lep, hold him down as best you can.”
And so began The Warlord's ordeal as the healer cut away the ruined skin from Da Bo’s face piece by excruciating piece and through it all one image
was kept at the front and center of Da Bo’s thoughts as The Healer did his grisly work...the little girl in silver they called "Queen", and how she would pay for his pain.
When that part of the treatment was finally finished, Da Bo's face was bandaged and he rested overnight. When he awakened, The Healer cleaned the infection from his non-functioning eye. More pain, but much less time. Again, the little silver Queen occupied his thoughts.
" I can clear out the eye socket, or I can leave the eye where it is. Your choice, Great One"
" Which is the ugliest? ", Da Bo asked.
The Healer looked at the Warlord’s violated face and finally said, “Leaving it, by far.”
“So be it. Let my face match my soul.” He then pointed to a piece of mirrored glass.
“Let me see.”
“But Mighty One, you have hardly begun to heal! It looks much, much worse than it will ultimately when…"
" I will see and you will live, or I will see and you will die! Choose!", Da Bo growled.
"As you wish, Warlord," replied the healer.
With the help of an assistant, The healer removed the bandages. As they came off, the girl had more and more trouble hiding her fright and disgust. Finally, the healer sent her away, finishing the job himself. When he was done, he handed his Warlord the mirror.
The face looking back at Da Bo was like two pieces of a hideous jigsaw puzzle. One piece, almost half of his face, was fairly intact, except for a few first and second degree burns. The eye moved around normally.
The left side of Da Bo's face, however, was the stuff of nightmares. The flesh on that whole side was misshapen, hanging lower than the other side as if melting before your eyes. The skin was healing at different rates so some places still oozed, red and moist, while others were in various stages of scabbing over. The mouth was locked into a permanent half-grin due to burnt-away lips and skin. Finally his eye sat, lidless, oversized and translucent gray, eyeball visible but unmloving, staring straight ahead, seeing nothing.
The Warlord looked at himself for what seemed to be a very long time, finally saying, "Yesss, now all will have even more reason to fear Da Bo!"
In the weeks to follow, the warlord used the time to build his strength, acclimate himself to seeing with one eye, and allow his face to fully heal.
He also planned. He needed a different approach if he was going to take Quinterbury.
His army was not as large as theirs, that was a simple fact.
A clash on the battlefield would simply not favor the Woyun.
Oto Lep, who had temporarily assumed command of the army,suggested bringing the battle to their enemy's door.
"A siege?", Da Bo repeated somewhat skeptically.
"Yes, Great One. Their Queen's forces will be divided between protecting their citizens and fighting us, and our catapults are far superior to theirs in range! "We can bombard their capital as long as we like before
"These huge catapults must be transported.", The Warlord pointed out.
"We could perhaps carry their parts on wheels and assemble them at the battle site,'' said Oto Lep.
Da Bo smiled, and that smile was a horrible thing to see. "I am pleased with this idea, Oto Lep. Begin the work immediately. I look forward to visiting their Queen." Then Oto Lep was witness to something even more ghastly than the smile of Da Bo… the laugh of Da Bo.
“Yesss…”, the Warlord hissed with the voice of one who has gone insane. “Let the face of Da Bo be the last thing their Queen will see!”