Storm the Conqueror

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A long time ago, there was a man called Storm, who grew up in a time of great threat. The neighbouring kingdom threatened to conquer the land where he lived. Storm trained as a soldier and quickly arose through the ranks, until he eventually became a general. He was entrusted by the queen to act on her behalf, even without her say, for such was his wisdom. He won every battle and war he had been in, and led such trust that what ever he said could be approved without the queen being present. As such, he became the queen’s chief advisor.
The neighboring kingdom’s threat still overshadowed the land and eventually the king ordered that they conquer the queen’s territories. So, the king sent 3 men to the queendom to take a message, relinquish or be overthrown. The 3 never returned with an answer. So, the king sent 13 skilled negotiators with a message, kneel before the king and live, or be conquered. After a month, the 13 had not returned and all hope was lost at hearing from them. The king then sent 30 fine warriors with a message, be conquered or submit. Yet, the 30 never returned. The king was unsure as what to do, so he sent 300 men to fight the queen’s men and also relay the message of submit or be conquered. None of the 300 returned. This had the king mighty vexed, so he sends 3000 men in the same manner, only this time, he sends 3 spies with them, to see what happens. Lo and behold, the 3000 do not return and only one spy returns.
“What goes on? What happens to my men?”
“Er, well, see, there’s this man who has the queen’s hand. He’s called, Storm. When anyone enters the land, they are taken before him and he questions them and most are never seen of again! Some say he eats them, but others say he burns them alive. Yet others say he fights them one by one, for such a strong fighter is he. And more say he buries them alive until they confess their true intentions.”
“And what do you say? What have you seen?” asked the king.
“I saw only two men enter the palace and neither returned or left. I heard no screams, saw no smoke, heard no torture or saw any torment. I say it is most strange and ask you to carefully consider what you will do, for such is his renown, his strength and devotion to the queen.”
The king thought about it long and hard, deciding to seek advice of his trusted advisors. Soon it was decided, he would send 30,000 to take the border and wage battle.
And the men went to battle, all 30,000. The king watched from a distance, to see what came to pass. The men were matched by 30,000 of the queen’s men and before the battle, an emissary went to the king’s men from the queen, bearing the queen’s standard and a message. Much to the king’s disgust, there was no battle, no blood, no war. In a rage, he took his horse to the border and stormed onto the queen’s land. Some of the guards stopped him and caused him to dismount.
“I demand to see the queen’s hand!”
So, the guards took him before Storm. He sat alone in a large, dark room, bathed only in lamp light. At the far end sat Storm, on a princely throne. The king was trembling, unsure what to do. Would he suffer the same fate as his many men? As he approached the throne, his armour rattled with nerves, until the suspense could not be bared anymore. The shadow of Storm leant over the now kneeling king.
“Do with me what you will, but spare my country, spare my people!”
Storm silently stood up and walked over a few paces to the king. “And why should I do that? You have tried to conquer us for many years! Why should I spare your kingdom?”
“You are right, I have sought to overthrow your queendom, but I surrender to you. Spare me family, my kith, my people!”
“I shall offer you the same as I have offered everyone else,” said Storm. “But if you surrender, well that’s different altogether!”
The king didn’t know what to say or do.
“So do you surrender? Or do you want the offer I made to the 3, the 13, the 30, the 300, the 3,000 and the 30,000? Well?”
Storm awaited an answer. Finally, the king answered, “I submit before you, surrender to your queen. Do with me as you will, but do not harm anymore of my men or family!”
“Very well. The queen accepts your surrender. Go into the next chamber and await your fate.”
The king moved to the chamber, relieved that the ordeal was over. He moved through the chamber and was greeted by a prison warden who led him to a cell.
Days passed and the king could not help wonder what had happened to his men. Such was his curiosity that he asked the warden if he may speak to the queen.
The queen decided to visit the king, seeing him in his cell, from behind the iron gate.
“What fate befell my men? My 3, my 13, my 30, my 3,000, my 30,000?” asked the king.
“Oh, they are safe and well.”
“How? Did not Storm kill them, eat them? Bury some alive?”
“No, not one of them.”
“Then what became of them?”
The queen smiled and said, “We offered each of them land, a home, freedom and peace in their lifetime. We told them to fetch their families here also once the tyrant had been imprisoned. Lo, behold, here you are!
And this is how I conquered your kingdom.”

Sougen.

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