Precious citizens, behold the majesty of our realm. A womb so splendid. A home so grand, built upon your daily toils and lifelong devotion to her Majesty.
I wish you rest, oh weary comrades, but I must postpone your most deserved slumber. Arise, bold shields and spears! Destiny beckons. This evening, you shall launch as golden arrows across night’s fragile threshold to defend the very future of our Motherland.
Our startling and beautiful origins, ancient as they are, remain close to us. Swaddled in memory, we retain the tale of emergence from the muck. Your Queen, a dear, divine spark amid the Great Darkness, discerned the way and called forth devout courtesans, fathers to you all. Divine knights who sowed life by abandoning their own.
But I say, they transcend death, for their life seeds flourished within our royal vessel, our Holy and Living Mother. Grateful and humble gifts, you thrive today as descendants of Princely deeds and duties fulfilled. Thus, we bear the legacy of their sacrifices and shall honor their souls. In remembrance, we named our royal champions. Chant with me now, our hearth song:
Zanaka carried the golden flags, banners to lead the company.
Karuz and Bazul, each mighty Dukes with hearts so true.
Brothers Zenz and Mizra marched to the fragrant lures.
Racing Azuz and Kefez, beautiful soldiers of might and fancy.
Each day, as banners to lead the company, you deploy across the diamond-faceted dimensions, guided by dutiful determination and masterful minds. Oh, you may lament, but such cries reveal the honesty of spirited souls, not weakness of heart! For our bodies are strong and have wrought an almighty domain. Envied, even feared, by those bound to the land, our glory advances, always forward, never in retreat.
Constantly in the flow of Nature’s demands, you venture with undaunting courage into new frontiers. You decipher, gather, and defend. You drill into bright, bristling veneers, toiling under leafy shade and watchful arrays of our eternal foes. Above, the circling hawk. Behind, the cunning wildcat. Below, the slithering snake. Servants of nature or, most likely, fervent and mindless brutes? You seek, cull, and spread. As we fulfill our duties, with hearts so true, dearest Nature thrives as a lush and luscious Paradise. We do not shrink from the call nor do we pervert its aims.
Our path is peaceful, but our foes know only violence. We defend. They attack!
The sun has set and we are nested for the night, you say. True, even the longest day, our worldly ally, relents to darkness. But our fate transcends the hour.
Our scouts, not all, return. Their regalia carry reminders of earlier action. Dusty, torn uniforms—black and yellow—and bloodied swords present testimony of their defiance and bravery. Alas, they signal irrefutable news of war!
As your infant sisters incubate within the core of this glorious hive, wild invaders approach under the rising stars. Their claims are driven not by grumbling bellies, for these are full and fat, but by wanton lust. So bereft of order and discipline, they revel in gluttony. Tonight, they seek to consume the Queen’s youngest children, great-great-granddaughters of Princes, family of us all.
Heed the warning: ghastly are these greedy bandits. They’d stolen the Moon by now but for tiny, boney hands that pick, wriggle, and grab. A hairy coat awash in stench sheds filth with each trot of short hind legs. Long is the ringed tail, a demonic limb known to whip, curl, and surround. An awful black mask adorns a face so sharp, its edges vanish into the night.
Terrible, how terrible, you wail. Yes, but let our cries rise into a chorus, a clarion call. Launch on the indomitable winds cast by your luminous wings! Mount a swift and overwhelming defense to ward off, if not destroy, the attackers.
Two of the foul beasts prey upon us. We are all that stand between life and death, for the enemy gives no quarter. Stab at their paws. Inject pain, then strike again. Though they tear at the edges of our realm, we can halt their provocation. Swarm, hover, perch, sting. Ears and cheeks swollen, oh, how these tangled brutes clamor. How much fear and pain must flow in their blood before they retreat?
Wait, a breach! They’ve pierced the walls of our beloved home. Dear royal daughters, circle ‘round and sortie once more, at least. Though they swat and chew, you must break their will. Stuttering and spiraling, sad deaths drain our numbers. Hope we hold against grimmer carnage and turn this stalemate into victory.
Such devotion you display. In the face of this relentless assault, your actions exceed all expectations. More than the winds carry you into battle. This cyclone you have wrought churns with energy. Its swirling vibrations excite the air, making a powerful declaration, and will lift us to an ultimate triumph.
What is this? How? Now, what horror confronts us? Am I to believe the shattered remains, piles of the fallen, limping, crying?
On my back in the dirt—not floating above, not seated on my throne—I see my crushed castle. Filthy paws pick and grab at the wreckage. They dig up my eggs and infants and press them into drooling, saber-lined maws. My winged daughters, once fierce cavalry, lie dazed or dead.
Diamond-faceted moonlight fades behind clouds of dust that reek of Earthly grime, the muck of my primordial birthplace.
Today, my daughters marched to the fragrant lures. Tonight, they rose to defend this base, this throne, this home. For Queen and Colony, beautiful soldiers of might and fancy, they served with honor.
Defeat is not their legacy. Death is not their end, nor mine. At the appointed moment, we are all called back into the Great Darkness before rebirth. How we lived, whether as Queen or cavalry, is the matter at hand. Harmony is a vital virtue. In my realm, we sought balance for one and all. We lived this. It was our mission.
I raised defenders and laborers, and you might think I did so to serve as master to slaves. But no, for I am also a servant. I beg thee, please know, Nature is not a harsh master and I do not blame her for the night’s ravages. I love her for the bounties and privileges she bestowed upon us.
My own life here ends, and I mourn the tragic deaths of my brave guardians, tireless workers, and pristine brood. But in passing, our fulfilled souls carry on. Our bequest: a lush and luscious Paradise, nurtured and conveyed to the future by this Queen and her harmonious, majestic Colony.
About the author
Daniel P. Douglas is the pen name for identical twins Phillip and Paul Garver. They’ve written mostly sci-fi and supernatural thriller stories, novellas, novels, and screenplays, and have earned accolades from Foreword Reviews, BestThrillers.com, and Readers Favorite. Learn more at www.danielpdouglas.com.
Did you enjoy the story? Would you like to shout us a coffee? Half of what you pay goes to the writers and half towards supporting the project (web site maintenance, preparing the next Best of book etc.)