As long as we live, the city stands! (Conclusion of Uprising — a six-part serialized fiction story)
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The poison had entered the King’s bloodstream as quickly as the dagger that bore it had entered his leg.
He had soon felt dizzy and breathless, his leg swollen, his head in agony. He had clung to life out of pride, desperately wishing to live long enough to see his victory. He had seen it, and it had proven shallow. He sat now, rigid, eyes of glass, and not a prideful word would come again to his blue lips.
The High Commanders soon held council. The men of the Sargathian forces must not know of the King’s death, they vowed. The city was vanquished, burned, sacked, and so will the scribes and bards tell it. The King would die, officially, upon his return to the Sargathian capital, where his young son would be crowned King. The Night Queen and her page were beheaded hastily, their heads left on pikes where the Sargathian camp had stood. The army left by morning. No pillage, no loot, no treasure went with it. Sullen soldiers marched home from Ulliah.
As morning broke, the ragged remnants of Ulliah’s army rose over the parapets, and rejoiced beyond rejoicing at the sight of Sargathian retreat. Only a far away cloud of dust now signaled its retreating presence. The Ulliahim collected with great reverence the remains of their Queen and the Queen’s unknown escort. For decades, for centuries later, they would sing of the girl who had never left her Queen’s side.
Once sure that the siege was over, the survivors went hastily to their most precious, most vital task.
Walking the courtyard, they would shout, “As long as we live, the city stands!” and time and time again, they would hear a faint voice beneath the ground, shouting a muffled “As long as the city stands, we live!”
And they would dig in a frenzy, and they would lift the casket lid, and a child would climb out. One after another, they would climb out, alive. Not all. Some had been hasty with their rations, some had consumed all their air. Death demands her tribute. But the great majority rose up again, coughing, smiling, crying, blinking. They had slept. They had carefully rationed the supplies in their urns. And they had waited. Row after row, the children rose up from the earth in Ulliah. And the children lived. And the city stood.
Among the children was Meeh’i Dainaxis, Fourth of her Line, Queen of the Night, Protector of the City State of Ulliah, The Golden City.
“Ulliahdamara!” the children chanted; “Ulliahsadara!”
Ulliah Beloved, Ulliah Forever.
The Buried Children
“As Long At The City Stands, We Live” (Episode 1 of Uprising — a serialized fiction story)
The Great Walls of Ulliah
“Let us Go Greet Our Guests” (Episode 2 of Uprising — a six-part serialized story)
The Silver-Helmed Rider
I’m enjoying myself too much to die! (Episode 3 of Uprising — a six-part serialized story)
An Audience with the King
“We have the Queen’s Witch!” (Episode 4 of Uprising — a six-part serialized fiction story)