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by Jonn
Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Fantasy · #2079421
Well. It's a mess. Two Queens. One mad, one not. A sea battle. What was I thinking?
For your consideration, a confused fragment from a moldy, unfinished project. I've got lots and lots of words; a drunken band of unloved, unruly characters vying for the lead and an uncooperative plot. Grammar and Punctuation were last seen laughing in the kitchen. Posted here for your amusement and thoughts.
When writing a draft, I throw everything into the Bouillabaisse and let it alone for a while. I'm pretty good at picking out the stale bits but always appreciate some help. Please let me know if you find something worth keeping. And thanks for slogging thru the swamp with me.


Malice and mercy The Mad Queen

The Vendell oar-propelled galleys were arrayed side by side in three lines as they raced for the ships of the Hanseatic League. Both fleets had all their banners flying and at this last moment before the bloodshed, it was a magnificent site. The sky was a dark blue seemingly reflecting a sea of deeper blue

"Mr. Abrahams, Signal to the squadron 'turn to starboard and fire as your guns bear.'"

"Aye, Captain"
The three sailing ships twisted and creaked as living things.

The ships crossed the enemy's bows in line ahead formation with the wind now blowing them into to the enemy. The crews watched eagerly as their guns came to range.

Jonn did not like the odds. He commanded a fleet manned by mercenaries and galley slaves.
he was desperate to gather information on the enemy fleet that had surprised him. Jonn stood on the stern castle of a caravel, the Orchid, his fastest ship.

The three small sailing ships twisted and creaked as a living thing. The ships crossed the enemy bows in line ahead formation with the wind now blowing them into to the enemy. The crews watched eagerly as their guns came to range.

He had not the time to change the world order in the few days before the battle. He had Queen Anne ensure that the slaves had rest and received good food. A rumor flew from ship to ship that in victory all men would be made free and paid for their service in gold, Jonn and Anne worked secretly to make the rumor into truth, if they promised this openly it would require the execution of most of the admirals. Anne liked this idea but Jonn thought the executions could wait.

He surveyed the horizon trying to estimate the Vendell order of battle. He steered the Orchid as close as he dared to the enemy. A brisk wind blew in his favor. He felt the old thrill of salt spray in the air and the site of a mighty enemy before him. The waves pounded on the bow as the wind pushed them hard.

The Vendell fired first but too early for accuracy and the balls splashed everywhere, missing everything. The sound of the guns awoke the blood lust of the crews; friend and foe.

Jonn,s opponents fired and fired. Too soon. Too late. Hitting nothing. Jonn's gunners waited a bit more, closer. The enemy was rowing with admirable speed. They were closing the gap. Their soldiers swarmed to the top decks yelling their war cries and preparing to board.
Jonn's expert gunners fired all the cannon at once. The bows of two enemy ships disappeared into planks, bone, and splinters. The sterns drove the bows deep into the water breaking the ships in two and bringing down their masts. Three more galleys smashed into the ones already sinking.

they had no picket ships out front to interfere with the scouting mission.

Queen Ann put a ball in the man's brain. "Any other cowards here... No?... Good! Follow your orders. The Lord Paladin is now the Sea-Lord of all Federation ships. Any Questions... Good! Get on with it!"

"My Queen, I need you to take your men and convince the other captains to join the new fleet."I think we may win this war after all!"
"The Ardante straits have no room for maneuver, you know that. The federation fleets will be boxed in with no escape. You must leave now with your men and ships before the Vendell blockade the port"
"Ann, come with me. I have room for you and your guard. You do not want to find yourself at the mercy of these cowards and kings when the tide of battle changes. The over land routes will not be secure for you. Once it is noted that you are leaving the city will panic and choke all the roads. All will cry that the Mad Queen is responsible for the defeat.
Queen Anne did not like putting her fate in the hands of anyone but herself, however, the Lord Paladin was one man she trusted; the only one. She enjoyed his company.
"You are correct, Lord Paladin. This city will burn before this debacle is done. I will join your fleet. I think we best leave tonight."

The smoke of a thousand ships choked the air and a whirlwind of hot embers set light to the docks and the great harbor city of Carina-Anar burned. The defeat of the three federation fleets was complete, no ship would return home. All captured or destroyed. The crews of slaves and mercenaries floated face down in the fouled water.
It was suicide.
These counterfeit admirals, these lazy men, the appointed sons of lazy men for whom even graft is too much work. They do not listen to their veteran sea-masters who counsel preparation and training. The old Sea-Lords urged caution in the face an enemy they did not know
They made no plans for battle, relying instead on their superior numbers to win the day. Already they were planning the victory parades and celebrations in the streets of Carina-Anar. Spending gold on lavish entertainments was a skill these men knew best
All launched at a race of master seamen with superior tactics and training. The crews free men who chose A life of wind, water and weather
The wind was in their favor. The Gods were in their favor
I harassed them to get a measure of their fighting ability and they are among the best I have ever seen.
Amron Lathe is a vast high plateau set in the mighty south-west mountains. Farmers prosper here and rich villages stretch from mountain side to mountain side in a wide swathe of green. It is home to some of the wealthiest, healthiest and most tightly controlled people to be found in all Andor. The Queens secret police see to that.
{}In the upper reaches of the Black Fortress, servants carry eight long tables of polished pine into a large sterile room without decoration or furniture. The room is the north wing, a separate structure, it stands alone on a natural shelf of rock which juts from the east wall of the fortress. Foot falls and voices echo off the stone floors and the vaulted ceiling as the tables are arranged to form one open square. Fifty chairs are then carried in for the fifty wealthiest men of South Andor.
The north and east walls are open to the outdoors, pillars of shining black marble hold up the ceiling, beyond is a balcony, a stone railing and then a drop of many hundreds of feet. On a fair day when the warm east winds blow this is the most beautiful spot in all of Amron Lathe. The Unseen Valley winds on for miles beneath sharp snow covered mountain peaks which fill the sky all round and ever present the Soaring Mountain punctures the roof of the sky to the north.
"I will take your kindred and all who you call beloved, and all who follow you, even onto those who grace your presence with a smile, I will take your people from their homes and nail them to your filthy cross of courage and on that day the ordinary and the frightened will become as cold blooded killers."

She stood on a dais at the center of the hollow square. Ranting and screaming at the foreign dignitaries sitting around the square table.

Queen Ann, at four feet ten inches of height, was considered a small woman even among the mountain folk of this region who were all compact in statue. She wore fabulous gold guilt armor and came equipped with a razor sharp rapier.

The fifty richest men of the Southern Federation sat in silence at the alliance table. Not one of these men wanted to be seated in that counsel room but Her Majesty would talk to no one else and these are desperate times. They politely waited as Queen Ann gave her opening remarks.

She walked from the dais and jumped up on the square table waving her sword about and generally frightening her audience

I have had enough of all the foolish nonsense said by you for these past three years! "The Vendell are a peaceful nation of sun worshipers! Which of you The Vendell destroyed your three fleets A vast invasion fleet of Vendell will be here in less than four months and you have no ships left to protect your own people or your gold or your own worthless skins?!" That is what your intelligence chiefs told me.

A land war was coming, at least that much was agreed by all. Her allies had just lost three entire fleets at the battle of the Ardante straits.

Do you not see that these murderous barbarians are going to over run all your countries and then they will cut me off from the sea and trade. And you are in my way. How will I gain victory with such a gathering of corpulent, incompetent, fools in front of my army. You will be dragged out of your palaces and burned alive in your gardens, yet you and all your leaders are too busy counting gold to notice that you are in the way

"My Lords. We are not going to place our armies under the leadership of any woman." said Kassane.

"I see," said the queen still standing in the center of the table. She nodded to Lord Kassane and one of her guards stabbed the man in the back. He fell to the floor without a sound, dead.

The Queen continued "If this is the best proposal you have, you and all your armies will be defeated in a few months time and I am not interested in joining you for that."

All the Lords, Earls, and Barons fled for their lives, some hid under the tables, others just collapsed to their knees begging for mercy

"Do not underestimate me, gentlemen. Against this new threat I have wisdom beyond your experience and I do not intend to lose this war"

"Guards! Get these worthless idiots back in their chairs!" It took the Imperial Guard some time to sort things out and the Queen spent the time thinking. She paced up and down the table occasionally kicking wine bottles to the floor with a satisfying crash. A few guests could not be convinced to return to their chairs and the guards killed them also.

Queen Anne, still atop the table, began again, " I will not be betrayed.Seems men will always be men; learning nothing, but always willing to kill each other to make a point!I do swear if I hear one more voice say it is time we 'Man-up', I will kill that man and all his family!"

Queen Anne composed herself and spoke evenly.

"You blame your defeats on the shame of cowards and the worthlessness of the frightened. But be forewarned, courage is the most worthless of human inventions. I liberated this land with an army without courage; naught but pathetic farmers and miserable villagers. Do you know what they feared? Do you!? It was not death."

" These men feared for their families, they watched as they were taken by famine and disease bred from their king's wars. Hope was but a forlorn rumor. These soldiers did not fight for me. I gave them but a flicker of promise, a candle surrounded by all the darkness of the world. I! The Mad Queen! Did this. And they rose up like lions. Lions! Savage, cruel, and without mercy. They were unpaid and hungry yet my armies grew. I watched those wretched peasants follow me through victory and defeat. When I faltered they remained unwavering, when I failed them, they asked only that I try again. They never deserted me!"

"Where will you find such men? I will find them for you."

"You will give me command of your armies and your governments. You will be held here as hostages to that end".

hese, my people, will speak of a mythic age and have legends of a far country that freed the world.
This is the land of the conquered and the conqueror, the oppressed and the oppressor, the enslaved and slave master. T4here is a peace here because we have here a new truth, we have become a nation of laws. My Laws! And they give confidence to the weary that tomorrow will be a better day.
It is the allure of freedom that creates true power and not some singular tyrant trying to prove his 'manliness' with naught but grotesque violence. Look to those who seek to unchain the common folk, for their compass will indicate the way to victory. The leaders of the free will show you genuine greatness.
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