The Lord of Lightning
(pages 20-25. )
Their helmets lacked any openings and they refused to answer any question, they emitted no sound aside from the creaking of their joints as they shooed the visitors away. They were machines, robotic slaves, naught but a cadre of dying flames compared to the raging inferno of the Guardian. Every few days the Lord of Lightning sent a few of these white giants to patrol the streets near the castle. These pale enforcers were frightening enough to keep any trouble makers away. In case of aggressive behaviour they struck down any scoundrels brave enough to instigate a fight. Their thoughts however concentrated on very narrow threads, not in the slightest ever straying from their orders. They stomped and creaked and crackled and left a trail of dust behind as they marched. The people saw them as a necessary obstacles in life, nothing more then simple beasts of burden.
The people took these new laws to heart, only the smallest of things had their Lord restricted and life was better with clear rules. The Lord of Lightning knew everything better, he did give them the safety and community of the city in the first place. The streets were now flooded nightly with hundreds of hulking mute guards. They roamed the quiet desolate streets in groups of six. Children cried in the night, scared from the stomping thuds of their oversized legs which also disturbed the dreams of many adults. But no one said a word, none complained. More and more declarations and rules came. Every other day new tablets dropped from the sky. Boots were forbidden, no pork could be prepared or eaten on Saturdays and all income was taxed by ten percent, the proceedings to be used for monthly sewage cleaning and peacekeeping efforts. The people didn’t even notice they had sewers until then. Walls and white sided towers, small and grim fortifications crept all over the city during the nights. Streets with cobblestones snaked between houses and new fences cut trough spaces previously free to walk on. Sparkling fountains grew across the skin of the metropolis, popping up like cancerous growths on the squares. On them were plaques with a name:
New, more agile and smaller servants walked out from the castle to fill out the ranks of the behemoth guardians. They collected taxes and gave orders, gravely voices boomed from behind their reflective masks, they said they spoke the word of the Lightning Lord. Every citizen had to work, leaders of tenements were elected into council, production and housing taxes were determined, subcommittees formed for income calculation and to oversee the founding of new coin mints. Wearing white clothes was mandatory, no man could sport a beard and women could not cut their hair short. The people still stayed, in fact more and more came every day to live behind the zigzagging walls and guard towers. The Pale City grew three size larger since the day of it’s inception. Bureaucracy and ceaseless supervision was a net that laid beneath it’s misleading surface. And behind all the meddling in life’s tiniest details, behind shadowy doors of power stood the Lord of Lightning’s once removed shard: The Overseer.
Every step of the Storm King was met with thunderous roars from the heavens. Every stomp of his foot was paired by a knock of a lightning banging the castle gates. The fancy doors began to smoke and then they fell from their hinges. A dozen pearly white guardians armed with giant axes and swords attacked the intruder. Rolling wind toppled them over and they flailed about trying to get up like bugs tipped over. A blinding, brilliant thread of light ran trough their ranks. By the time the shimmering sword’s flame burned out in the Storm King’s hand all the guards had exploded in a flash fire.
A shaking mass of storm came down from the sky and swallowed the city whole, it laid over the cobblestones like a thick black eiderdown. The storm’s master entered the castle. In the main hall the guards already retreated to the walls and granted him free access. Steep and wide stairs led up to the throne. From the chair of authority a cloaked figure stood up, he looked down on his guest from an elevated position. When the Storm King approached him it was clear that the Overseer was shorter then his soul brother. They stood in front of each other, one filled with zealous rationality and the other tortured by subversive emotions. First the Storm King spoke:
The Overseer did not quiver, he raised his hand and pointed his finger at the Storm King without fear! He spoke with an angry voice:
The Storm King staggered. His anger faded and his eyes opened wide. The Overseer’s words slapped him awake. With a smile he said:
The Storm King turned his back on the other shard and started walking away. The Overseer watched with tension as the bottom of his soul brother’s spear kept rhythmically hitting the steps as he walked down. The figure clad in black armor turned back one more time:
The Overseer recoiled, at the bottom of the steps his roundish servants began running upwards. Sizzling snake like whips of lightning crawled out of the Storm King’s eye, his hair whirled and the surface of his armor got wet from the vapour of heat around him. The blackness that had settled onto the streets of the Pale City suddenly erupted, in the sky it circled into a seething storm’s eye. A multitude of white bolts fell down from it, their thunderous discharges wrought tremendous noise and finally the eye erupted. A wide and fat column of lightning rained down onto the castle. The roof immediately exploded, yet the strike lost none of it’s force. And eye-watering wave of bright light burned the ground to ash and gluttonously swallowed walls whole. With a whimper the castle’s finely crafted body fell down. As a final step a tornado danced wildly over the corpse of the Overseer's palace. After the systematic destruction was complete a hurricane flew up and stormed off with crackling thunder-strikes. Slowly falling spray of ash rained on hushed houses. In place of the once magnificent palace fires were burning while the sky appeared as a colorless wound. Finally the patchy blanket of clouds healed itself and began to cry. Rain smothered the fires and the people again dared to walk the streets. The Pale City was on her own.
The King of Storms truly went away. He rode his ship on wings of winds. Anonymous he walked lands far away, bringing with him light showers of rain and distant thunder wherever he travelled. Perhaps he lived among the people there, perhaps he even had children and a wife. One thing is certain though. On a distant plateau in damp blades of grass near a flickering fire sits an old man. A spear rests on his shoulder pointed towards the sky. When the old man – who hadn’t spoken for hundred’s of years – looks up at the clouds, his eyes glow with the bright cyanide hue of lightning.