How She Relates to Her Race

He had climbed to the top of the highest mountain to kneel at her feet. It had not been an easy journey. She had made it difficult. From the moment she felt him seeking her location, she had resigned him to misery if he wished to see the task completed. She could have traveled instantly, moved a world away in the blink of an eye, but after the trials she forced him to endure, it would have been cruel. He had been her friend, once.

She sat in the center of the dais, legs crossed, head leaning forward, hands pressed together at her chest. The picture of a sage in calm meditation. If only her thoughts had matched the facade.

“Speak,” she commanded, voice hard and cold. Were her eyes no longer red? She wished she could summon that angry color to her visage once again. “I will hear your words, but I grow weary of this farce.”

Was it her imagination, or did contempt flash in his eyes? Why should she expect any less, after the trials of the journey?

“I have come to beg for your mercy.” Rather than reverent, he sounded almost sarcastic. “That’s what you want to hear, isn’t it, Reianna? You want the whole world groveling at your feet.”

“One or two wouldn’t go amiss.” She flashed him an icy smile. No humor touched her lips. There were a few worlds she wouldn’t mind watching the chaos consume. No one particularly deserved her grace. Except, maybe, him.

He snorted and rose to his feet, disdain in every line of his face, even dripping from his voice as he spoke. “You’ve let all this get to your head a bit, haven’t you? Weren’t you supposed to be some great liberator? To advance the potential of your people far beyond their wildest dreams?”

If she could have lit him on fire with the power of her mind, she would have done so in that moment. Let him scream and cry while the flames consumed him for all she cared. He was foolish and shortsighted. As were they all. “You dare preach to me about my people?” She hissed each word. She didn’t bother to rise. With him standing, they were still and eye level, and her position still indicated authority. “Shall we talk about their sins, Dyne?”

He hesitated. She shouldn’t have to remind him; he knew all the sordid details.

They had raised her in glory, right enough. Stronger than any Destarian born before or since. Stronger than those of noble blood. They hailed her as hero before she learned to walk. Not only would she guard the destiny of many realms, one day she might shape them.

Until her sixteenth birthday when all the words of praise washed away in a stiff wind. When the lightning struck and the storm began. Not one of them spoke for her innocence the night of the murder, though many knew what had happened.

Convenient; that was the word for it. The old ways worked better. Things stayed perfectly the same without forward thinking mages like her. She wondered now if her people sold their souls the moment they adopted their so-called task, or if they waited a few years to build trust before embracing the darkness.

Exile would have been bad enough, without the foul trick.

“They didn’t just abandon me,” the malice almost burned her tongue. “They sold me into slavery. They would have rejoiced had that wretched queen ever successfully subverted my power. They made me less than human to secure greater power and prestige. They deserve to suffer more than any other race.”

“And what of the others?” Dyne spoke softly. “There are innocents still. Will you do to them what was done to you? Can you not seek revenge without carving a swath of destruction through all the beautiful worlds in the universe? Surely not everyone you’ve met on your travels treated you so poorly.”

“I thought you came to beg for mercy,” she sneered to hide her surprise. Hadn’t he come seeking peace?

“Not for them.” There was unexpected venom in his voice. But then, he had as much reason and right to hate the Destarians as she did. They had enslaved his people, banished them from the better parts of the universe to keep it for themselves. And then raised their children believing the opposition were monsters summoned from the vilest pits of evil.

“I didn’t come to change your mind, not entirely. I just think there’s a better way.”

Reianna clenched her teeth as she considered his words. She had been wrong so many times, what was one more mistake? But this time alone, she was loath to admit it.

Her response came as a growl. “I’m listening.”

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This was my response to the prompt “how [they] relate to [their] race.” You can read more about Reianna here.