Tremola saves her people.
Tremola flexed her fingers. Her audience was silent, some with fear; others with malicious superiority. She began to thrum the vertical rows of glass columns filled with red liquid to varying levels; with the expert fingers of long and continuous practice. Some of the spectators gasped as the fluid in the columns began to rise.
The invaders had arrived abruptly and unexpectedly. Their world had little to offer most other races, so they were generally left in peace. But these creatures, for that was all they could be called, came anyway.
When their leader, Cosmoses had come to the temple; Tremola as both Queen and High Priestess, had graciously accepted him into her presence.
“But it wasn’t a visit, it was a sack of our most holy,” she remembered as she played, faltering only once with her thoughts.
Barely escaping with her life into the catacombs below the temple, she had fled into the city. With sorrow and terror, she had watched her people get rounded up and herded into her own citadel!
Rapidly, Tremola had searched for someone to save them.
“My guards and councilors were strewn like dead flies throughout the city! Anyone who resisted was butchered on the spot. I knew there was only one thing to do. I ripped up my gown and made a white flag and headed for my castle, my home, my citadel!” she told herself as tears threatened to fall.
“Against all my inclinations, I treated for peace and the release of my people.”
Cosmoses merely laughed and said:
“I understand you are a talented musician. We would be entertained in your concert theatre tomorrow. If you please us, I will free what is left of your people and leave for other worlds.”
She had gone violent chill as she sensed what a gigantic lie that was. There was only one thing to do, the only thing! Prepare the Doomsday Fluid Organ, their only weapon.
Dusty from being buried deep beneath the monument to the ancients on the twin hill to the one her palace sat on; Tremola feared it wouldn’t work. But with a little cleanup and new fluid, it was soon ready.
Raising her chin with stubbornness and determination, she continued to play, faster and faster. The liquid began to flow out of the cylinders and spill onto the floor. Fire of blue and gold started to spread.
As it approached her people in the audience, they rose from their seats and they stood their ground. The fire went through them, leaving them unscathed. The enemy, who were seated behind them, rose as one and began to rush out of the theatre like stampeding cattle.
The magical fire of Doomsday quickly engulfed them, consuming them like so much tinder and fuel.
“Their end is quicker than they deserve,” Tremola said to her people as she rushed to move them to safety.
She moved them swiftly up onto the stage and through the wings to the back exits. As she watched them scatter, she heaved a sigh of relief. A soft explosion from the direction of the stage told her the fate of the Doomsday Organ.
“Your vile contraption failed to kill me,” said a rough, growling voice behind her.
She turned, swiftly drawing her glass dagger. A huge, smoking cinder stumbled toward her arms outstretched and fingers clawed. With one swift movement Tremola threw the razor-sharp weapon filled with undiluted Doomsday fluid.
Straight and true, it flew to his heart and he fell to the floor. Rapidly he went to ash and blew away. Tremola went out the door and started back to her palace.
“I hope our enemies are all dead. I only have a few glass fire bombs to use if they aren’t,” she muttered as she ran up the hill.
“Halt! Who goes there, friend or foe?”
Tremola knew that voice. He was an ancient palace guard who had refused to retire from her service.
“Gavolo, it is I, your Queen!” she answered.
He peered into the gathering darkness.
“Prove it!” he said stoutly.
“Olo, how long have you known my voice? Since my birth, I think.”
When the old man heard the nickname, she had given him as a child, he began to hobble down from the battlements to let her in.
When she got to the post gate, the sobbing ancient grabbed her and hugged her until she couldn’t breathe.
“How are things here?” she asked.
“The children and old folk are well enough. Where are the rest of our people?”
“Gone to their homes, I’m sure they’ll be back her tomorrow for their kin.”
As she walked arm in arm with Olo, she told him what had happened.
“Well, the ancients were good for something at least,” he said when she finished.
“As I recall from my history, your grandfather was one of the wizards who developed the machine that saved us,” Tremola teased Olo by saying.
“True, true! Too bad it skipped a few generations with me,” he commented.
“You are a brave and worthy guardian of my castle, never forget that.”
“You, are a priestess-queen worth guarding,” he replied with a creaky bow.
The pair looked at each other and burst out laughing. Slowly and timidly, those who were in the palace, came out at the sound; the elders carrying sleeping children.
“It’s bed for all,” Tremola announced as she led them to sleeping areas and handed out mats and blankets.
Sleepless herself, she paced her bedroom restlessly.
“What now? Our only weapon is gone. What if we are invaded again?” she whispered.
“I must find and enter The Wizards’ Magic Isle. Surely there are some young ones training there who can help me arm our land with magic weaponry. As soon as my kingdom is back to normal, I’ll go!”
With a yawn, she sank onto her padded window seat and fell fast asleep. The children she had filled her large bed with, giggled when she began to snore. Very softly, they crept out and got Olo to put her to bed.
Like little puppies, they snuggled in around her and went to sleep. Olo looked down at the precious sight.
“Our beloved queen should marry and have children of her own. I’ll have to see to it!”
1,052 WORDS 2/12/2023