Of Kings and Queens

A pitch have yet to be written, as the plot-planning is not 100% finished, but I couldn't stay away from writing the actual story itself.
This story is about war. And with war comes hate and love, blood and tears, passion and fear.


20. Dande

Dande, Pontus

dies Solis, XV Iulias, 04:56 PM


The last week Dande, Owain and Katarina had been held captive by pirates.

Ironically enough, Owain and Katarina are pirates themselves, Dande had thought then.

Dande looked around in the dark room and tugged on the rope tying his hands together. He wasn't alone, he knew that.

“Are you still bleeding?” a familiar voice asked, and a flame began dancing around a clawed hand, lighting up both Dande and the flame-wielding pirate.

“No,” he growled. The rope around his wrists were tied too tight, and would cause him to bleed if he moved too much.

“Been a week, and I've spent all of my time down here with you. Not the most fun, I must admit,” the pirate said and knelt before Dande. He bore a smile and played with the fire in his hand.

“You don't even know my name,” he laughed.

“Heathen is all I need to know about you,” Dande spat and tried kicking after him, but the pirate swiftly stepped backwards.

“Merek, since you asked so nicely,” the pirate said, before sitting down in front of Dande.

“Aren't you curious, Dande?” He taunted and moved the fire he was handling to Dande's face, letting it gently caress his face.

“Why would I be?” Dande said, trying not to give in to his teasing, and kept his wits about him.

“I know everything about you, but all you know is my name and my religious affiliation.” As he spoke, the flame moved downward, to Dande's legs, where it left burnt marks on his bright pants.

“Infidel, you're a disgrace! An embarrassment to the Goddess Ustrina!” Dande shouted at him and spat at the ground.

“What do you know, Torch?” Merek smirked at the disgusted face Dande wore. “I'm stronger than you, yet I'm the embarrassment here?” He gestured to himself as he spoke.

“You're a Flare, that's what you are!” Dande's face had been wearing the same scowl the entire week, and first now had his face gotten used to it, since his facial muscles didn't hurt any more.

“Oh, you figured that much, did you?” Merek said and both his hands blossomed with fire. “You think you're stronger than me then? Because last I knew, I won.”

Merek moved a flaming-claw to Dande's cheek, and slowly cut into it, leaving a scar across his left cheek, as the fire healed the gash instantly. Dande only winced slightly and felt his heart beat faster.

“Why don't you fight back?” Merek asked, as he left another scar underneath the other.

Dande didn't answer, and Merek chuckled at his silence.

“I know why,” he said and kept carving into his skin. “Because you need sunlight. Just like any other of our kind does.”

“Do not relate me to the likes of you!” Dande finally snapped, yelling at him.

Tears had begun to force their way into his eyes from the pain he kept quiet about. After some minutes, the only sound was the waves crashing into the boat, and Dande grunting from the pain, before he finally gave into his curiosity.

“How did you know?”

“Know what?” Although Merek's face lifted, his eyes stayed focused at the pattern he was carving into the slight muscles on Dande's torso.

“Everybody else seemed so appalled when they saw what I could do. You said you were brought specifically for me. How did you know?” Dande too followed the claw that engraved his body, the pain wasn't as bad after getting used to it.

But the hand stopped, and Merek made eye-contact with the Torch, smiling.

“That would ruin the fun, now wouldn't it?”

The door to the deck was opened, and they both looked to see a tall and bearded man stand in the doorway.

“Merek!” A deep, rough voice said, and the Flare smirked.

“Sir,” he said and stood up.

The man, whom Dande guessed to be the captain, walked in with Owain and Katarina following behind him. Katarina was smiling big, but Owain not at all. She had changed clothes to something that looked much more suggestive than her previous attire, and this time it didn't cover much skin. Owain still wore the same dark pants, open shirt and the cutlass shone as always, reflecting what little light it could.

Dande's scowl turned into confusion, as his eyes darted around them with an open mouth. Unlike his fears, they appeared to be perfectly fine. Not a single hair had been touched.

“Oh Merek, you've been too rough on the poor lad,” Katarina said and gestured to Dande's fresh scars.

Owain looked slightly concerned, but it was obvious that he did his best not to, and stayed silent.

The captain glared at the Flare, Merek.

“It's no harm, really! It is nothing but mere scratches,” he said as he shrugged. “Fire can't kill him, so he's safe.”

“I still told you not to touch him,” the captain growled.

“Oh like that, I thought you meant I wasn't allowed to touch him,” Merek said, with heavy emphasis on 'touch'.

Dande couldn't wrap his mind around all of this, and shook his head. “Could someone explain all of this to me?”

He looked to Owain, but the usually confident pirate looked away, which confused Dande since the pirate kept the same strong posture as always, but his eyes...

“May I?” Katarina asked, and gave a slight giggle when the captain nodded.

“Where do I begin,” she mused. “Let me introduce myself first! I am Katarina Bongrad, I'm a Clairvoyant, prophet of the Goddess Clariuidens and God Praevideat. Pleasure to meet you,” she curtsied. “This here is my twin-brother, Owain, he's an inert and my aide.” She gestured to said brother, and he tried to give a smirk, which he succeeded at, sending nervous shivers through Dande's system.

“Blessed by the two Gods, they have granted me the ability to see into the future.” As she said so, it struck Dande what she was getting at, and his expression betrayed him.

“Ah, by the look on your face, you seem to understand!” She spoke gleefully. “Me and my brother works for the king of Micoreth, King Brynmor the first. One day when I was seeing the future of the war, which usually looked so bright from our perspective, something was amiss. Something unexpected had come up. A little Torch by the name of Dande was proving to become our problem, and we couldn't let that happen. So we made our way to the old Camel inn, what a distasteful place, and waited for your arrival.” She held a pause and her genuine smile curled into a grin. “And here we are.”

They all looked at Dande, as he faced the ground, trying to comprehend everything. He hadn't seen this; why hadn't the Gods warned him of this?

“You're so quiet now,” Katarina knelt down and tipped his head up to meet her gaze. “Don't you care to know what we'll do next?”

“You'll tell me yourself, I'm sure,” he sneered at her with a wrinkled brow and nose-bridge.

“Merek's right, you're no fun!” She sighed. “Our beloved King Brynmor the first wishes to meet you, before executing you for the entire kingdom and Gods to see,” she smirked as she said so.

“What will you gain from my death? If not I, someone else will come and end the war! The Gods have decided so!” Dande snapped at her and bit after her fingers, where she quickly pulled away and stood up.

“I care not for the war, only for my payment. You can discuss such matters with the king when you two meet in a days time.” She placed her hands on her hips as she spoke, when they all were interrupted.

“Captain!” a sailor shouted, “we're docking at Vade's harbour now.”

“Finally!” It came loudly from Merek, as he extinguished his light, causing the deck to get entirely black where the sunlight from above couldn't reach. “I hate sailing.”

“Owain, watch out for Dande whilst we make preparations,” Katarina said and snapped her fingers at him.

He seemed rather startled, and looked around at the others—quickly straightening his back and smiling with a nod.

The moment the door closed, only little light was let in through cracks, and it graced Owain slightly. In what he could see, Dande saw Owain pull his shining example of a cutlass, and the Torch shifted in his place as the pirate--the betrayer--walked closer. Owain didn't say anything, allowing Dande to speak instead.

“Owain! You've betrayed me?” he hissed and tried to kick after Owain, as he silently moved closer with the cutlass.

Dande felt as nervous as ever, when the pirate walked behind him where he was tied to a beam. He felt his muscles tense up as he expected to feel pain, but only felt relief around his wrists. Owain had cut the ropes off of his wrists.

“Owain, what is--?” Dande began as he rubbed his wrists carefully, feeling his wounds up, when the pirate interrupted.

“Dande, you have no idea how happy I got when I heard about you,” Owain said and knelt before him, placing the cutlass in its sheath.

“Wh-what?” Dande stuttered and felt his heart beat differently for a few seconds, blushing slightly.

“Are you truly the end of the war?” Owain took his hand as he spoke.

“Y-yes, I am. Or I am at least the beginning of the end,” he answered with and before either said anything else, Dande winced by a sharp pain from his wrists, when he felt a thick liquid run over it.

Owain then began massaging his wrist, rubbing in some substance that pained the torch, but he could feel his wounds close properly.

“I have lost so much to this war, and I'm not the only one,” Owain spoke lowly and his change of attitude surprised Dande. “Yes, I'm a bad person—I'm a pirate, I kill and plunder, I lie and I've been fooling you all this time.”

Dande didn't say anything, he didn't move either. Even though the pain and wounds had vanished from his wrists, Owain kept massaging them, slightly harder as he named his sins.

“But my conscience is heavy with guilt. Unlike my sister, I'm not religious, I don't believe in any Gods, this you know, so I don't fear the punishments that supposedly comes after a life like mine. I take full responsibility of my doings and I'm not looking to amend myself. But let me do humanity a simple good deed.”

Owain looked Dande straight in the eye, his voice was trembling and filled with regret and sorrow.

Dande slowly petted his face, mouth slightly agape as he didn't know how to react. By what he understood from Owain's soliloquy, he was contradicting himself; convincing himself that he isn't a good person because of his past. And now that he has the chance to rectify, he went for it.

Although he was free now, wrists healed and no longer pained, he still felt exhausted and slightly morose. He needed sunlight, and what little he got from the cracks wasn't enough for him to even light the smallest match.

The sun would set in a few hours as well, and he hadn't gotten any sunlight in days.

“Why now?” he asked, lowly. “I'm weak; you don't know much, but my kind can't function much without proper sunlight, and it's been days since I last felt the sun on my skin.”

“I know,” Owain said as he gently nodded. “I just... I've been thinking about it ever since we got aboard the ship; I didn't realize that it was too late by now. There's a small army at the docks of Vade, so it's not like we can escape from there.”

“What are we going to do now?” Dande asked and stood up. His question was mostly aimed at himself, which was luckily something Owain caught on to.

He brought his hand to his chin, considering their choices. “I can't swim,” he said, making a short gesture with his hand and a quick glance at Owain.

“I have a thought, but I need you to be very cautious and listen closely.”

Owain rose from the floor, and Dande had almost forgotten how tall he was as he looked up at him.


The door creaked loudly as the hinges complained about Owain exiting the deck, stepping in to the golden light coming from the setting sun. Everyone were busy with their duties, yet neither Katarina, Merek nor the captain were to be seen.

“Hey, boy,” Owain said sternly and grabbed the collar of a young, fresh kid running on by. “Where is the captain?”

“He's in his cabin with your sister and that...” the young boy paused as he shivered, and Owain could have sworn he saw goosebumps rise from the kids darkened skin. “Man...” he doubted his choice of word, “with fire. For what I do not know.”

“Thanks, run along now,” Owain smiled slightly and patted the boy on his shoulder.


After the kid had gone his way, Owain looked around and no one seemingly paid him any attention, as they prepared to dock.

He knocked five times on the door behind him, then it opened.

Dressed in Owain's notably larger shirt and his own cape, he was almost completely hidden from any eyes. The air outside was breezy and fresh, and even though the stench of salt water and sea weed was sour, Dande took a deep breath and felt his lungs properly inflate.

After exhaling he turned to face Owain. “Now we just need to...” he stopped abruptly as the last rays of the day hit his face.

It was so warm, so welcoming, as he gazed right at it. “Sol...” he whispered with a wry smile. Even this little light made his fingertips tingle and the mark between his eyes as well. Not enough to light the smallest tinder, but enough to relight the flame in his heart.

“Dande?” Owain looked tensely around and put a hand on the dazed Torch.

One of the crew members walked in front of Dande, whom didn't notice, and slowly the shipmate came to a halt. A loud thump of several tools hitting the floor, as the servant stood with an open mouth, which slightly grew larger, Dande got pulled out of his own mind and his eyes grew to the same large and dilated size of the man whom he was keeping eye-contact with.

“Alert the-” Owain's fist shut the mouth of the pirate, sending him spinning to the ground.

Without much hesitation nor thinking, Owain picked up Dande and swung him over his shoulder.

“Owain what are you doing?” Dande shouted in shock as the pirates aboard the vessel had been alerted to their presence and was now loudly yelling.

“Concocting our escape!” He shouted back, running with large steps towards the railing.

From the corner of his eye, a door was kicked off of its hinges, and Merek looked straight at Dande, fire in his eyes as well as his arms.

Before the Torch could even start his prayers, the Flare lunged at them, beast-like on all four.

Dande was dropped as Owain pulled out his cutlass, yet Merek was quick to disarm him with a single slap of a burning claw, scorching the palm of Owain and causing him to cry out loud in a short moment of pain, before he raised a fist.

His steely blow drew blood from Merek's nose, and as the Flare watched his obsidian coloured blood drip unto the dark wood of the deck, his fingers began twitching. The glare he gave Owain next made it run cold down his spine.

Swiftly, Dande jumped just high enough to place his left palm on the forehead of Merek. As he felt the warmth of the Flare's anger in his mark, Dande shouted:

“Ustrina, adiuva me, ut mundatis hoc dereliquisti anima. Odivi ecclesiam semper!”

And for a moment, time stood still. Merek's fire extinguished, and as his eyes greyed slightly, Dande's arm was set aflame. He landed perfectly on both feet, and the fire consuming his arm was grander than ever, with flames high above his own head.

Merek fell; seemingly lifeless. The silence surrounding them were deafening and Owain even doubted he could speak.

“Dande?” he hesitantly asked.

The Torch slowly turned to face him, eyes dilated and his mark aflame. He was huffing and growling, showing surprisingly sharp teeth. Letting out a terrifying, inhumane screech, he flung four pirates into the water with a single swing of his arm. No one dared coming any closer, as he looked from one frightened face to another.

“Owain! Look out!” Katarina then shouted as she ran towards the maddened Dande.

Owain then threw himself at his sister, causing them both to tumble away from Dande and into the railing.

“What do you think you're doing, brother?” she shouted at him and felt a slight cut she had gotten from the fall.

He didn't get to answer before the Torch caught their attention again with a fearful roar. Lifting his clawed hand into the air, he looked from it and down at the wooden deck. His claws then forcibly cut into the floor, bringing it to splinters and cracks that spread 4 metres around them in a perfect circle. The pattern of the cracks weren't random, but a large mark with swirls and Latin words flowing along the cracks.

Adolebit!” He shouted, and from the cracks in the wood, fire rose in the shapes of hands and caught on to the crew members, the mast, the floor and anything within the 4 metres reach.

As the clothes Dande was wearing himself got eaten by the fire, he collapsed naked in the middle of the ring.

Pushing his sister away, Owain jumped to his feet and rushed to Dande's side.

“Dande?” he shouted. “Wake up!” He could barely hear himself from all the panic erupting around him.

He fell to his knees next to Dande and he could feel the flames caress his own skin, creating slight burns, but that was a pain he had to care about at another time.

Whilst shouting Dande's name over and over, he shook him, slapped his cheeks, listened to his heart beat, but there were no response.

“Gods...” he breathed. There were no time to consider whether or not he was actually alive, Owain weren't no shaman! He lifted Dande, but fell to his knees again, as something held Dande down. Looking back, he noticed that his claw was still stuck in the wooden flooring.

No matter how hard he pulled, without breaking any fingers, if they even could break, he couldn't get Dande's claw free. Looking at his own hands, right one scorched, left one was fine, he mashed his lips hard together and struck the wood.

He winced as he felt a crack in his fingers, and continued to stare a few more seconds at the claw dug into the wood. Standing up, he put his foot uncomfortably close to Dande's claw, looked at the naked man lying next to him, then at his foot again.

With a deep breath, he lifted his foot and began stomping on the cracked boards. One, two, three, four, five, six. He felt his heel go through the surface and quickly dropped down to pull the claw out, this time with a bit more force, forgetting whether or not he could break it.

With Dande swung across his shoulders, he stood up and caught Katarina's eyes.

The disappointment in her glare was like a cut in his heart, as she simply stood there, bloody and with black marks drawn over her body.

With heavy steps, Owain turned around and walked to the railing. As he had stepped on to it, he looked into the dark sky. He didn't even hesitate as he lifted his foot and stepped into the air. Together with Dande, he fell heavily into the cold, salty water near Vade's bay.

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