Submission for the God Killer Flash Fiction Challenge
“I was a man once,” said the god, his eyes fixed on marble floor beneath his feet. “Ages ago, I was a warrior of renown in my homeland. I had a wife and three sons. I rose in position until I became the commanding general of the army of the god-king Thostius. I won many battles in his name, until the last of his enemies were vanquished by my hand.”
The child queen sat motionless before the god, her face as pale as winter. From both sides of the throne, her guards’ armor made a soft rattle.
“That day was my undoing,” the god continued, his fingers tightening around the hilt of his sword as he spoke. “Thostius rewarded me with an offer to join him in the pantheon, ascending to divinity myself. I was seduced by power and immortality. I accepted.
“The next few decades are hazy now. I squandered them on pleasures unimaginable. I discarded the love of my wife for a different woman each night. My sons grew to manhood and had children of their own, but my grandchildren were told their grandfather had died in battle. By the next generation, my descendants had forgotten my name.”
The child queen released a breath as she waited for the god to continue. He said no more.
“A tragic tale, my lord,” she said, struggling to steady her voice. “Pray tell, how might my kingdom serve you? It is a long journey from the Divine Mountain. Why have you sought an audience with me?”
For the first time, the god’s gaze met hers. The child queen felt her eyes dart away, but immediately willed herself to look the god in the eye once again.
“Stories of the child queen of the north have reached the Divine Mountain,” said the god. “Stories of her dragons.”
She held her breath.
“Are the stories true?” the god said, as though the question were no question at all.
“My beloved pets could not stay hidden forever,” she said. “It is true.”
“I have need of them.”
The child queen did not reply for a long moment. “My lord, forgive me for questioning, but would you tell me what purpose you have for my dragons?”
“I have lived far too long, and I am weary,” said the god. “It is time for me to be reunited at last with my wife and sons in the afterlife, if their spirits forgive me.”
Another silent moment passed.
“Long have I sought a way to meet my end,” the god continued. “The magic of the Divine Mountain forbids any god to harm a god, even himself. Few outside the pantheon have the power to do so. Many mighty warriors have tried.”
“Tales have reached my kingdom,” said the queen. “The greatest heroes in nearby lands …”
“Dead by my hand,” said the god. “My will does not resist their attack, yet the divine magic protects me. This is what happens to those who would kill a god. You see now why I seek a more powerful foe. Why I need your dragons.”
The child queen fought in vain to hold back tears. “My lord, I beg your forgiveness once again, but my dragons are precious to me. I fear for them.”
“You are right to fear, but I can offer you more gold than you could ever desire. And if I am slain, my flesh is worth far more. Bury my body in your soil, and your harvests shall be overflowing for a thousand generations.”
“I raised my dragons from hatchlings,” said the child queen, no longer masking the trembling in her voice. “They would not obey me otherwise.”
“Young queen, know that I can take what I wish, regardless. I come to you as a courtesy. I will not be refused.”
The child queen’s tears flowed freely now. “Then you know where they may be found.”
“The queen is wise.”
“Do what you must. Do it quickly. I cannot watch.” The child queen signaled to one of her servants, who took a cautious step toward the god.
The god said nothing, but looked at the servant and turned to leave. The servant followed.
The child queen watched in tears as the god left her throne room. She listened as his thunderous footsteps slowly faded.
She waited. She retired to her bedchamber, but rest eluded her deep into the night. At last, she cried herself to sleep.
She awoke to the sound of the same footsteps booming in the distance, and tears overcame her again. A short time later, her servant returned.
“He instructed me to request your presence in the throne room, and to say no more,” said the servant.
The child queen wanted to scream at the servant to tell her what had become of her dragons. But she knew already.
In the throne room, the god stood waiting, motionless. He did not meet the queen’s gaze as she entered.
“Your dragons are dead,” said the god, his voice monotone. “You will find your gold stores full. Take from them all your servants can carry, and yet full they shall remain.”
The child queen glared at him. “With this gold I will raise an army unlike any other,” she said.
“Do so,” said the god. “Take your vengeance on me, and I will welcome it.”
“I will have my vengeance,” said the child queen. “But my army will not slay you. No, they will protect you wherever you journey.”
The god stared down at the queen with a weary smile. Neither spoke for a moment.
“Farewell, my lord,” she said at last. “May you live forever.”
Image source: http://rob-joseph.deviantart.com/art/Weary-Warrior-299293008