All is Well that Ends
The Ypourgoí searched each other’s faces, the pale flesh revealing the fear each had. While the Vassilias had left for his studies, they had been entrusted with the care and safety of the realm. At which they had failed, though even that was an understatement. Ioannina, one of the last refuges of the loyalists, had all but fallen the night prior. Alicudi was on its last legs, unable to access its normal foodstuffs, it was days before the city would have fallen to the siege laid upon it. The Basiluzzite blockade had been incredibly effective, forcing the forces of the Ypourgoí to rely on internal Aiolian granaries, of which there were very few. With the losses of the meager amount of fields there were, a victory for the rebels seemed absolute. And yet, here they stood. Freed from the war that had plagued them, snatched from the jaws of defeat by their Messiah. Still fear remained in their hearts.
The door to the council room slammed open. There stood the Vassilias, his eyes dripping violet fire, his limp left arm dripping blood. The Ypourgoí had never seen Eternal in such a state, though they didn’t for long as they knelt, slamming into the hard stone floor as fast as possible as to avoid the rage of the injured King.
Eternal gazed at them through his pained gaze. Byria had cost him dearly, and even know he could feel his control of Aiolia’s magic slipping from his grasp.
“You failed me.” Without warning, a blaze of fire erupted from his hand, engulfing the Ypourgós to his right. The man screamed, breaking away and rolling, desperately attempting to put out the fire. It would not go out, eating into his flesh as his screams became whimpers, which became silence and hissing. The other nobles flinched at the death of Faustus, the Ypourgós of Filicudi, the only city to wholly fall to the rebellion.
“You’ve left my lands to rot in the hands of those who would oppose me.” Eternal rasped as he glared into the souls of the two remaining men. “But you did not fall.”
The Vassilias stood silent, before reaching for the hand of the man on the left, Stephenos, Ypourgós of Salina. Firmly grasping it, a disk of purple flames separated the hand from the wrist, instantly cauterizing the wound. Stephenos flinched and let out a low moan of pain, but Eternal was satisfied. He threw the man to the floor. Turning to the last, Adrian of Alicudi, he backhanded the man with his uninjured arm.
“You shall ensure that this realm does not return to the anarchy of rebellion. Or you will die. Far more painfully than he.” Eternal gestured to the ashen remains of Faustus. “I reward those who serve me, and for that you keep your lives. You did not fall.”
Eternal turned his back to the two nobles, still lying on the floor. “I am returning to my laboratory. Do not fail me.”
The Vassilias strode from the room, leaving the remaining Ypourgoí to sort themselves, and his realm, into something Eternal would desire. Or they, and the rest of the realm, would be punished further.
The arm ached, the clearly broken bone grating against itself. Eternal could not focus on it for now though. He had more important duties to attend to. He had another city to burn and a son to return to. The pain could wait.