Lordac settled back in his throne, a smile playing at the corners of his lips. Of course, it wasn’t much of a throne. Then again, his new home wasn’t much of a castle. More a squat tower slowly limping its way skyward.
“Your Majesty, there is a woman here who insists on seeing you,” one of his human servants said, bowing low.
“Who is she?” Lordac asked.
“We don’t know,” the servant said. “She didn’t come on one of the boats. She just appeared on the beach.”
Lordac sighed. “There is only one creature that would be so unbearably rude as to come where she’s not invited,” he said. “Let her in. She’ll just force her way through anyway.” The servant bowed again and scurried out of the room.
A few moments later, a very familiar figure stalked into the throne room. She looked a little worse for wear, her clothing scorched and her once long flowing locks ruthlessly sheared off at her jaw. “Lordac, what are you doing?” she demanded.
“Sianni, you look like you’ve been having quite the adventure,” Lordac said.
“Mother sent us to keep track of the dragons,” Sianni said. “What are you doing on this island?”
“Cultivating spies,” Lordac said with a smile. “You know as well as I do that you and I can’t approach the dragons directly. Though it certainly looks like you’ve been giving that a try. The humans on the mainland are all so superstitious it’s hard to get any of them to talk to me let alone agree to watch the dragons. So I came here.”
“How is this cultivating spies?” Sianni demanded. “These people are so backwards they’re still living in grass huts. How in the names of the Guardians did you even get them to build you this tower?”
“It’s amazing what a little kindness can do for you,” Lordac said. “I am aware that these people are simple, Sianni. That’s what will make them the perfect spies. I have to build up a decent civilization here, work on finding something to trade with the mainland so my people have a legitimate reason for being there. Then and only then will I be able to achieve the goal that mother sent us here for.”
“Your people?” Sianni asked. “These people should belong to mother, not you.”
Lordac sighed. “Sianni, mother is a distant dream to the mortals of this island,” he said. “As are the rest of the Guardians. They abandoned these people when the God of Time shattered the continent. They have no one to watch over them. I simply filled the void.”
“You’re setting yourself up as their god?” Sianni asked.
“As their king,” Lordac said. “I certainly wouldn’t claim something so pretentious as the title of a god. I’m not that suicidal, Sianni. If mother found out she’d erase me from existence. Please recall what happened to the others when they tried that very thing.”
“I think I ought to tell mother what you’re doing,” Sianni said. “She won’t be pleased.”
Lordac laughed. “Do you really think I’d let you leave here?” He gestured with one hand. Heavy black chains wrapped around Sianni. “You’re not going anywhere, dear sister. Perhaps by keeping you here I can also protect you from your own stupidity. At least now the dragons won’t be able to attack you.”
Sianni brought her arms up and twisted her wrists. The chains fell away. “I’m not powerless, Lordac,” Sianni said.
Lordac stood. “Neither am I, sister dear,” he said, gesturing again. A ball of light appeared in front of him. He sent it at Sianni.
She dodged it with ease. “Too slow, Lordac,” she said.
“Not at all,” Lordac said. He pulled the threads of magic and the ball rebounded. It struck Sianni in the back.
Sianni staggered forward but kept her feet. “Not good enough,” she said. She gestured and a ball of light similar to his appeared in front of her. Hers shot off at great speed and Lordac barely managed to escape its blast. His throne wasn’t so lucky. It shattered, sending fragments of wood and shreds of fabric through the room.
“That was rude,” Lordac said. “What did my throne ever do to you?” He pulled the threads again and wrapped them around Sianni’s wrists.
Sianni snapped the threads. “You’re using weak magic, Lordac. That will never hold me,” she said. Another ball appeared in front of her. It flew towards Lordac. Lordac dodged and the ball opened a hole in the wall behind him.
“Stone is a very precious commodity on this island,” Lordac said. He pulled the threads tightly around Sianni, augmenting their strength with his own. “I rather dislike wanton destruction, especially of someone else’s property.”
Sianni shrieked and struggled to break free of the threads. “I won’t let you defy mother,” she said. Energy surged around her and the threads broke again. Lordac took a step back. “You won’t live to regret this, Lordac.” Sianni vanished.
Lordac called for one of his human servants. “See to it that the wall is repaired as soon as possible. I’ll be back shortly,” he said. With that, he stepped out of the mortal realm and into his mother’s.
Lordac had no trouble finding his mother. He could hear Sianni’s strident tones from halfway across the garden. He followed the sound. Sianni had thrown herself on the ground in front of Morana, leaning her head into her mother’s lap. Morana smoothed Sianni’s shorn hair as she told her mother of Lordac’s transgression.
“You had better have a very good reason for what you’re doing, Lordac,” Morana said, looking up as he reached them.
“I’m cultivating spies, mother,” Lordac said. “The dragons are too powerful to approach directly. The people of Vassa are not simple sheep anymore. They do not trust anything that even remotely reminds them of the Guardians. I could get no further with them than I could with the dragons, though at least the mortals were less damaging when they drove me off.”
“So why are you able to approach the people of this island you seem to have made yourself king of?” Morana asked.
“It’s simple, really,” Lordac said. “These are the mortals that were forgotten by the Guardians. They wandered off from the city and started their own community. They were quite well developed for a primitive society when the continent shattered and took with it their stability. They’ve been floundering ever since.”
“So what makes you think they need you and not me?” Morana asked.
“I never said they didn’t need you, mother,” Lordac said. “I never even implied it. I’m simply helping them rebuild their society. When I’m done, I’ll have reintroduced the concept of a deity to them and they will fall on their knees in humble worship of you.”
“I don’t see anything wrong with that,” Morana said. “Sianni dear, I think you overreacted to your brother’s actions. However, I don’t like the fact that you two attacked each other. No more fighting. I sent you to do a job. I expect it to be done, and I expect you to use whatever means are necessary to do it.”
“Of course, mother,” Lordac said. “I am, as I have ever been, your most faithful son.”
“We’ll see,” Morana said. “Sianni, you could learn something of subtlety from your brother. You need to stop approaching the dragons directly, work through another agent. I expect results, children. And I expect them relatively soon.”
“Yes mother,” Lordac said, bowing deeply.
“Yes mother,” Sianni said as she pouted.
“I’m glad you understand,” Morana said. “Now get back to Vassa and get me that information.” Lordac smiled at his sister and stepped back to the southern island.
“Your Majesty, the repairs are not yet finished,” one of his servants said as Lordac reappeared.
“I didn’t expect they would be,” Lordac said. “I am not angry.”
“Don’t think this is the end of this, Lordac,” Sianni said as she appeared in front of him. “Mother may believe you but I don’t.”
“Mother doesn’t believe me either,” Lordac said. “But she knows that the best way to get information is to work through the other races, and these humans will be my agents in finding out what the dragons are up to. Perhaps if you focused less on your desires and more on mother’s wishes you’d find a way to use the mortal races to help you too.”
“I’m staying here,” Sianni said. “I’m going to watch you. When you bring these people to mother, then I’ll leave. But if you don’t, I’ll go back to tell her.”
“Sianni, you are by far the most childish woman I have ever met,” Lordac said. “However, if you feel you must remain here so be it. Just don’t get in my way and don’t interfere. Or I will seal you up and lock you away.”
“You can’t,” Sianni said. “I’m too powerful.”
“Care to make a wager on that?” Lordac asked. Sianni glared at him and stalked off. Lordac laughed, and followed her out of the tower.