The Warrior stood with spear in hand, staring at the large black gate of the white palace. The clouds invoked darkness upon the land. A lifeless soil lay beneath his boots; the air was silent and hollow. Life could not abound here. It took him weeks to find his bounty’s land. She was every man’s image of beauty. To some, she was a blonde woman with blue eyes, small lips, and a petite shape. To others she was a brunette – tall, thin, with grey eyes. She even had rumors of being strong, black, and voluptuous. However a man pictured a beautiful woman, she became that image. She was a goddess.
She came to power when kings began to disappear, starting with her own king. Rumors said she killed them in their sleep. Her beauty escorted her into their chambers. Her voice made them mute. She told them how much she desired their flesh. They never questioned the literal sense of the statement. Once the kings were gone, she subdued their lands and all the men who served them. She was a tyrant.
The remaining kings grew fearful of her power. The Warrior was beckoned. With the strength of a thousand men, his skills on the battlefield were feared throughout the land. Wars were fought and won by his spear alone. The men worshipped him. With every victory, kings offered him countless, eager concubines. He was the god of war, but that was the story of old. Now he was a man trying to find wisdom in the necklace his mother left him: a small man, naked and bleeding, hung up on a cross with a crown of thorns on his head. He held a covenant with this man; he was the provider of the strength the Warrior possessed, or at least that’s what his mother told him before she passed.
Now, he stood at the black gate. A man atop the gate asked the Warrior’s name and the Warrior answered. The gate was opened and behind it stood a small army of feeble men suited in heavy, black armor. The Warrior proceeded, unmoved by their numbers. The wall stretched for miles across the foot of a desert mountain.
The palace was inside its rocky terrain. A large white staircase led to her banquet hall. Five white pillars held up a balcony and split the hall into four images. Its interior, however, was hidden by a wall of darkness. The soldiers had their weapons drawn as they surrounded the Warrior. As he moved forward, the soldiers moved out of his way, creating a gaping hole in a sea of black armor. A fleet of archers looked down on him from the balcony.
He walked up the wide staircase into the darkness of the banquet hall. Inside the hall, rows of arches, lining the walls, loomed over doorways to other areas of the palace. Small pillars created a path down the middle of the hall to what looked like a well-made bed with curtains spread around it. A throne sat in front the bed. The soldiers stopped just before the darkness. The Warrior was allowed to continue inside by himself. They hoped he would be killed.
He felt the air loosen as he crept closer. He was light on his feet. He walked between the small pillars to the bed and traced its borders with his eyes. Torch stands gave the area a faint light. A gold frame held the mattresses up to his chest. A whisper came to his ear. He jumped away from the noise and erected his spear. He saw the Goddess. Her beauty stilled him. She had thick, curly black hair that stretched out like a lion’s mane. Her big, brown eyes and full lips glistened in the dim light. Her body was the image the Warrior had painted in his mind: voluptuous, smooth mocha skin, and athletic. She fit his perfect image, and he realized it. The rumors were true.
The Warrior felt dazed. He continued to stare, lowering his spear with his mouth open and numb. She gazed at him and gave an innocent, seductive smile. She rose from her slumber. She did this slowly. She wore a see-through night gown with a thick robe belt covering her hips. She had a small tiara on her head. She had covered her ears and fingers with rings. She stretched forth her arms, inviting to hug him.
She simply asked, “What brings you to my court, my handsome soldier?”
The Warrior did not answer. She laughed to herself and motioned for him to come closer. He walked over soulless. She bit her bottom lip. She shot a gaze into his eyes. She twisted her body; her head closest to his chest. She reached out and grabbed his hands, and then lured him with her eyes. She then sat up and wrapped herself in his arms. He remained powerless as he breathed her in.
“What does my soldier require from his queen?” Her voice was soft but paralyzing.
The Warrior retained his focus and replied, “I have been sent by many frightened kings to slay you.” She gasped. He quickly reassured her, “However! I could not do such an injustice to this world.” His voice softened. “To deny your beauty would be to deny everything good.”
She smiled, gazing into his eyes. She had him. She raised her lips up to his lips and gently pressed them together. After she kissed him, he exhaled with great relief and she blew a chilling air into his mouth. He shivered. His mind ventured into imagination.
She got an idea. “My warrior…” He looked at her. “How strong are you?” she inquired.
“A thousand men cannot stand before me without being marked for death,” he declared.
“Do you love me, my handsome soldier?” she questioned.
He paused and looked into her eyes. His vision left him. She grabbed his chin and pulled him in and kissed him once more. His soul departed from him. She whispered again into his ear. His mind was closed off. She then pulled him into the darkness of the curtains and slept with him.
Once the small figment of daylight entered into the hall, she woke him with a gentle caress of his jaw. She then wrapped herself in his arms and began to cry.
He was taken aback by this and asked, “What troubles you, my queen?”
The tears flowed. Her voice scratched as she responded with, “It’s them. Those soldiers will never let us be together. They all want me for themselves!” Her sobbing infuriated him. They made her cry. He must do something.
He asked, “What would you have me do?”
She thought to herself with her face hidden from his view. She then smirked faintly and then turned back to him and ordered, “Kill them.”
Without question the Warrior pushed the covers to the side and got out of the bed. He dressed himself in his armor and left the banquet hall. The soldiers were waiting for him with their weapons unsheathed once more. They had jealousy in their eyes. Within minutes, 300 men lied dead on the ground. The archers tried to catch him off guard but did not succeed. After a while, 600 more joined the fallen. The Warrior allowed seven men to flee and spread rumors of his alliance with the Goddess.
The Warrior returned to the Goddess. She made love to him once again, but did not let him stay in the bed that night. He slept on the staircase outside, in the stench of the dead bodies. He took the bodies and piled them outside the gate. The message was clear. All men beyond the gate would die by his spear. She left him there for days. It drove him crazy. He spent every minute hoping that she would call for him. He was empty. He was addicted.
A king entered the gates. His servants surrounded him as he passed the Warrior. They entered into the darkness. He could hear them whisper. The servants came outside. He could hear the Goddess giggling. It angered him. He heard her pleasuring the king. He waited patiently. He killed a servant in secret, and took his place. He followed them all the way to their kingdom. Silently, he waited for the kill. At night, the Warrior slew all the guards around the palace. He entered the king’s bedroom, lifted him from his bed, and snapped his neck.
He returned to the Goddess. He told her what he’d done. She smiled and thanked him. She pleasured him once more. The filth of the king’s aroma still lingered. It never bothered the Warrior. She was his addiction, no matter what state she was in. Later that following day, she declared that king’s territory her own, and went to subdue it. One by one, she captivated the men of the nation with her words, and lured them back to her palace with her beauty. They wanted her. She left nothing but women, children, and her flags hung all over their kingdom.
More kings and princes came to buy her love. They brought gold, jewelry, and rubies. Others brought her food, clothes, perfumes, and sandals. She returned their favors in the only manner she knew how. They saw the Warrior. They knew who he was. He saw the pleasure in their eyes. He could hear their gasps in the wind. She ripped men from their families, jobs, and dreams. He killed them all, putting their heads on spears to drive men away. Nation after nation continued to fall. Women were forced to carry the weight as more and more men went missing. After every slaughter, he returned to the palace and shivered outside. She was a drug for him. He was in withdrawal.
The remaining nations grew angry with them. The Goddess called the Warrior in and alerted him of the danger. She cried in his arms. She satisfied him again. She was more intimate this time. She needed him now more than ever. They wanted revenge for their fallen rulers. She was the culprit. Women spread terrible rumors to the remaining men. The men chanted revenge. They sought her head.
The next morning was quiet. Life had altogether abandoned her gates. An army approached them. They shook the ground with their marching. As before, the Warrior rose from her. He dressed in his battle armor, keeping his necklace hidden. He had the gate opened. Vultures flew away in fear.
A commander rode up to the Warrior and nervously threatened him. The Warrior drove his spear through the horse’s neck into him and swung them both into the pile of rotting flesh. He let out a loud cry, and charged. The Warrior slew them all. Men fell like rain drops. It was more than a thousand who came to fight, but the Warrior never grew weary. He was determined to leave no soldier alive. He returned to his Goddess. They made love in the aroma of burning bodies.
She expanded her kingdom again. She seduced the few leaders, and they gave her their armies. However, they would fall to the jealous Warrior. Not even bribes could stop his spear from slitting their throats. Only women were safe in her kingdom. Women resistant to her expansion grew desperate.
It had been half a year since the last threat of war. Now a new army approached the palace gates. Its numbers were few, yet they remained persistent in their march. The Goddess sent the Warrior out to kill them. They appeared very small and deprived of food. At the sight of the Warrior, the army cried aloud to Heaven. The Warrior charged at them. They fell easily. They were untrained.
He left one soldier to torture. The battle didn’t satisfy him. The small man trembled tremendously. The Warrior observed the frightened man. He looked like a little boy. The boy was shaking his legs together. His stance was off balance. He couldn’t hold his sword straight. His muscles were tense. He flinched when the Warrior approached him. The Warrior knocked his sword far from reach. The boy fell to his knees and awaited his end.
The Warrior placed his spear onto the boy’s neck. He lifted the helmet from his head. The boy’s blonde hair covered his face. The Warrior forced him to lift his head. He was a she. Her blue eyes burned in the sunlight. He remembered her face. Her face was red from the rush of adrenaline. Her mouth twitched in fright. He had slept with her many moons ago. She was a concubine. She was used to fighting. She told him this not long after a king gave her to him.
“Stand,” the Warrior commanded.
She slowly stood to her feet. She had the hips of a mother. He recalled the story of her little boy, born to a prince, but rejected because of her harlotry. He cut her armor off and saw the rest of her soft, tanned skin. Her damaged hands worn like the hands of a blacksmith. Her stomach was thin almost to the bone. The Warrior looked at the desperation in her eyes. He could see again.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
She gulped roughly and tried to answer. The pain was too much. The Warrior looked around at the rest of the dead bodies. They were all women. He dropped his spear and went to remove all of their helmets. He looked at truth with conviction. He knew some of them. He lay with them. He knew each of their homelands. Their bodies were starved. He was no longer immune to the faces long gone from the world.
“What is this?!” he cried out.
She suppressed her fear for a moment and shouted, “This is what you did! Gaze upon your sin!”
He began to tremble. He fell to his knees shaking. She blamed him for all the dead men, kings, princes, children, and now women. The Warrior shook his head unable to accept the truth. He glanced at his hands. They had become strange to him. His covenant was broken. Now his hands were stained in the blood of the weak he was called to protect. He rested his head in those hands. Death smothered him into silence and then he began to weep. He felt their hearts. Their blood screamed for justice from the graves.
“I knew these women. They were all so beautiful…” he said.
The Warrior looked into her saddened eyes. The pain was unbearable. She said goodbye, and left. Her breastplate hit the ground and echoed in his mind. It reminded him of his necklace, still tight around his neck. The bloodied God died for his sin. As he looked at the bodies, he knew his sin was great. He took his spear and went back to the palace determined to fulfill his original task.
Men were groveling all over the Goddess’s venomous body like ants on their feed. The Warrior slew them all. Every man fell to his blade. She retreated into the hall. The Warrior followed her like the grim reaper. He entered the darkness again. He heard the bed creak. He saw her there, frightened.
“What has gotten into you?” she pleaded, tears of fear in her eyes.
He lowered his spear. She crept towards him with her soft eyes. She stroked his arm to comfort him. She pulled him close and whispered in his ear. He was disgusted by her vulgarity. He realized the perversions of her tongue. His mind had returned. He stepped away. He didn’t want to have sex with her. He didn’t want anything from her anymore.
“You monster,” he declared.
He grasped his spear and prepared to strike, but hesitated now that he saw her true form. He saw blood on her teeth from all the men she devoured. Her tongue was black with poisonous venom dripping from the tip. She hissed at him. He could smell the ghastly stench of their flesh in her breath. She was unkempt. Her wild, red hair was like a lion’s mane. Her skin was like the scales of a serpent. She slithered over the bed with her legs now a snake’s tail. Her fingernails were like the claws of a bat. She was a hideous creature. Yet, there was a bloodied God hanging on a cross. It was the same necklace as his. She too was from a nation long departed – a nation that once devoted itself to the King of kings.
He raised his spear to kill her but she cried out and covered her face. His soul ached. She still controlled him. He walked away, feeling sorry for her foul state. Her soft eyes still had beauty in them. There was a broken woman inside the monster. He did not see it fit to end her. He walked a few steps down the staircase and saw the blonde woman that left him on the battlefield. She ran to him with hope in her eyes. A crucifix dangled from her silver necklace – another citizen of a kingdom long forgotten.
The Warrior turned around and found the Goddess staring at her with vengeance in her eyes. She was jealous now. She hissed with her poisonous tongue and moved to strike her. His spirit enabled him to stand between them. He was no longer addicted. He would protect the weak. The Goddess stretched out her claws and slumped over with a hunched back.
“You will deny ME!?” she snarled with a legion of voices.
The blonde responded. “So it is you, my queen… The long lost princess of the holy land. It is true you sipped of the witches vile and became this creature.”
“I am strong!” She snarled. “No man will deny me! I am more powerful than all of you scum! You take all the beauty a woman has and you leave them discarded in the streets like trash. No more! Now YOU will be the prey! I will end you all! And all the foolish women who support you!”
The Warrior forced his spear through her chest. He lifted her off the ground and threw her into a pillar. He walked over to her and looked at her fragile body one last time. Her red, baggy eyes were full of sorrow. Slime seeped from her red nose. Her skin was dry and cracked. She still tried to claw at him. Hate had consumed her: the beautiful, Godly princess whose kingdom, in youth, was stolen by a perverted king that ripped her innocence from her. She saw him in every man’s face. She wanted to wipe him from her memory by any means necessary, even by using witchcraft.
The Warrior reflected, smiled, and said. “Be at peace.”
He pulled out his spear and drove it through her throat. He cut her head clear off the shoulders. Her head tumbled into the darkness. The Warrior destroyed the pillars and let the palace fall into shambles. Together, the blonde woman and he left.
The sky was now blue. The air was mixed in death and life. He burned the fallen men in a pile. He took the spears with the king’s heads and threw them into the fire as well. He escorted the woman back to her home. She took him through courtyards, gardens, palace halls, and her throne. She was made queen by the death of her lover, who visited the Goddess under the gaze of the Warrior, and the survival of her son. She was benevolent, and her people cherished her. Enticed by her power, that night, he went to her chambers. She marveled at his strength. He whispered softly in her ears, but she resisted him.
“You will deny me?” he asked softly in her ear.
In that instant, she called in her guards. They took him and threw him out into the street. The Warrior’s strength was gone. He had failed again, and God was no longer with him. The treasures of the world warped his mind. The women bound him in rope. He couldn’t break free. They beat him with sticks and threw stones at his body. They gouged out his eyes so that he could no longer see feminine beauty.
A few men saw this tragedy. They grabbed him from the mob of women and threw him in jail. They looked upon his face. They were horrified. His eyes were windows to devastation. His hair was long, white, and thin. His teeth were sharp like a wolf’s fangs. His skin was dead. He legs were as hairy as a bear’s. He had the feet of a vulture. He turned his head in their direction. He struck fear in them once more. The queen walked into the cell with a torch in her hands.
She shook her head. “As the kings made the queen of God’s people into a harlot, so has she made a man of God into a beast! You drank of her blood! The witch’s curse is in you! Be gone, demon!”
She threw the torch on him. His legs caught on fire and the rest of his body soon followed. His legion of voices screamed in pain. As the flames engulfed him, he reflected on the purpose of his existence. He remembered the covenant between him and his Lord. He wanted to repent, but it was too late. His spirit left the body, never to be more than ashes ever again…