Lady Kalphen made room for her people to leave. The Queen's forces were fast approaching. She would make her last stand alone on the plateau

Her royal guards were loyal to the end, but she dismissed them. She didn't want their sense of loyalty to get in the way of their survival. They left quietly.

She needed time to prepare. On the ground, she placed a hundred candles. That took much longer than she wanted. She fetched a pan of cold water to hold, and stood amongst the candles. She waited.

The Queen's approach was forecast by the sound of cannonfire. Meeting no resistance, they quieted down. The Queen's infantry men entered her castle, overlooking her town below.

It was cold. Wind blew through her open windows and castle walls, carrying the clouds with them.

The clinking of armored boots approached her door. She did not hide. Instead she shouted at them, "I am here! Ya basta!"

The knights knew what they were doing and took no chances. A battering ram was brought to her door and smashed into it repeatedly. Her door creaked in its frame and finally splintered and collapsed.

The knights did not enter. They hurled bottles of flaming oil into the chamber. They had intelligence of what she was capable of.

She gathered the water in her pan with her thoughts, mixed it with the wind, and blew it across the top of her candles. A terrible explosion sent the bottles of oil back out the door. They were extinguished by the strength of the wind and shattered harmlessly outside.

The knights knew they had some time before she could recover, and filled her room with arrows. 

By then, she was behind a bookcase and was already gesturing at the candles on the floor. She shaped a pair of flaming wings that engulfed her, and leaped out the tower window, leaving a trail of ash behind her.

She couldn't delay them longer. It was time to contact Bex.

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