Lenoa fell back, blocking an onslaught of staff strikes with her rapier. She pushed back, parrying blows and thrusting at the viceroy. Potent dragonfire suffused throughout the throne room, blistering in her veins, leaving her little but smoke clouding her judgment. She tried to draw from her pendant as she defended against the viceroy’s strikes. Blow after blow pushed her back, unable to deflect his strength. She could see the blood lust scorching in the viceroy’s eyes.
Lenoa caught a blow to the head, cutting her just above the eyebrow. She fell back, her blood splattered to the ground. The bogling sprung from her pocket, fleeing in some unknown direction. Its terror echoed in her heart. The terror she felt the moment she watched Amir fall. She blocked on the oncoming blow, kicking the viceroy back as she jumped to her feet. She drew a deep breath, enkindling her oath to never let that terror live again.
Lenoa tossed her blade aside, rushing the viceroy. She charged, dodging a swipe by ducking into a roll and leaping up into him. She tackled the viceroy to the ground, gaining control of his bo staff. She forced it to his throat, and pressured into it with the entirely of her resolve. She looked into his eyes.
“Submit, and we’ll let you walk,” she spoke. The viceroy’s veins bulged in his neck as he tried to push back. His untempered rage echoed within her. She could see it, touch it, taste its impression so like what she had used to be. A tear welled through her scream as she knew she’d have to kill him.
The bo staff lifted from the viceroy’s neck, into Lenoa’s throat choking her. Trying to look up, she made out a vague impression of Wren pulling the staff against her throat. He dragged her from the viceroy, tossing her and the weapon aside. She coughed violently as the lynx guard helped her up, motioning for the other guards to assist her. Caught in a gasping haze, the last she saw of the viceroy was a muddled look as Wren dragged him off.
“Detain them unharmed!” she ordered as she caught her breath. Taking a moment to regain her feet, she searched the throne room for the bogling, who came waddling out shortly after. It ran up to her leg, and did its best to make a hugging motion. She scooped it from the ground and embraced it close, hugging it tightly to her bosom. She held the bogling, and it nuzzled her back in kind. The heat rushing to her face, she could no longer restrain it. Lenoa collapsed to the ground, bursting into tears while still bleeding, holding her bogling.
When she finally regained herself, she rose to the full attention of the court. They watched on , observing for the first time the mercy and compassion of their king’s heir. They witnessed the woman who fought and bled for them, to protect them when she had nothing gain. The woman who was willing to sacrifice everything to offer them a chance for a better life.
She was no longer a heinous villain to be suffered. Nor was she a wretched, regal brat unworthy of their love. She was a woman supreme, willing to love and sacrifice for her people, peerless in her domain. She was now their queen.