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    The Silver Wolf-The Honor Of The Crown: Burn Out
    Posted on Fri, June 11, 2021 by LordCeb
    CruelSummerLord writes "When the flame died away, there was only a mass of charred bones where nearly a score of living beings once stood. The sickly scent of burning flesh filled the air.

    Chapter Fifteen

    Burn Out

    “What’s going on here?” the Scarlet Woman shouted, the power of her voice cutting through the noise of the melee in front of the Regency Council’s manor. She was coming back to the manor with several choice pieces from Flinthold’s jewelers’ guild, eager to add to her personal hoard, when she’d heard the sounds of fighting. When she arrived in front of the manor, she found a large group of orcs, verbeeg and other races in a pitched brawl. She recognized some of the monsters fighting in the melee as some of her private hoard’s guards, and she immediately knew something was wrong.

    The Scarlet Woman’s minions all stopped fighting and turned to her at once, looks of utter terror on many of their faces. The hoard guards were especially pale, realizing they’d abandoned their posts.

    “I…we…” one of the guards finally said.

    The Scarlet Woman ignored him and walked past the monsters into the manor. Her minions exchanged fearful glances, terrified at what she might be thinking.

    The Scarlet Woman’s rage built as she walked up the manor’s stairs. No one came to confront her, and indeed the place seemed deserted. When she reached the vault to her private hoard, she was shocked to find the dead bodies of her hoard’s other guards and the vault door wide open.

    She felt ready to explode when she walked into the vault and found that the gnomes’ magical crown, the one that fool regent had been wearing when she’d killed him, was gone.

    Everyone in the street outside the manor heard the Scarlet Woman’s roaring scream, and they shivered as one.

    When the Scarlet Woman emerged from the manor, her eyes seemed to blaze red with fury. She stared from one to the other of her minions, all of whom were too terrified to move.

    “Explain yourselves,” she said, shifting her gaze to each of her hoard’s guards in turn.

    “We…we heard the fighting happening out here, and…” one of the guards said, beads of sweat pouring down his forehead. “We were afraid they’d try to steal…”

    “Then you would have done well to remain at your posts like your brethren did, and trust in the strength of the vault door,” the Scarlet Woman said, her expression eerily calm. “And for the rest of you...what was the cause of this melee?” she asked, her gaze shifting to the verbeeg and the orcs.

    “One of…the humans…” one of the verbeeg said, too terrified to speak clearly.

    “We…got word that the Bloody Claws were plannin’ to steal your treasures…” the orc chieftain, the one Seline had charmed, said after swallowing hard. “We came to stop ‘em…”

    The Scarlet Woman stood silently for a few moments, letting her minions’ fear build.

    A couple of them began to shake uncontrollably.

    One wet himself.

    Another started to weep.

    Finally, the Scarlet Woman raised her hand.

    A massive gout of flame seemed to erupt from her hand, consuming the guards, orcs and verbeeg who’d displeased her.

    When the flame died away, there was only a mass of charred bones where nearly a score of living beings once stood. The sickly scent of burning flesh filled the air.

    The rest of the Scarlet Woman’s minions stared at her in reverence and fear as she gazed at each of them in turn.

    “I am very disappointed in all of you,” she said, her expression remaining as calm as ever. “I grant you free reign of this place, and you let the agents of the gnomes play you for fools. They were no doubt the ones who stole my crown to restore the gnomes’ will to fight. They will try to retake my city, and I will not allow that.”

    “Remember that all your lives are mine to do with as I see fit,” the Scarlet Woman continued, her eyes still smoldering with anger. “My kingdom is at war, and you will shed your blood until I have taken all of it from the gnomes. I am going to meet with my generals to plan my defense, and when I do you will show the diligence and brutality I expect in my minions. Serve me well, and you will be rewarded with the riches and glory I grant you.”

    Her minions remained silent for several long minutes, until one human got the courage to speak up.

    “You can count on me, my lady,” the human said, his voice breaking the silence.

    The Scarlet Woman turned her gaze on him, locking eyes intently.

    “I am become Lady Babylon, and so long as my kingdom is contested I will be addressed as such,” she said. “Do I make myself clear?”

    None of her minions dared to question their queen.

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