The whispers came first.
They were subtle; told around the fire like embellished tales of times long ago. The whispers became murmurs, and grew until the tales were many and those that were ignorant were few.
By the time the tales had reached the castle, they were accompanied by an official scroll from a neighbouring kingdom.
The Kingdom of L'Haar requests the immediate
military assistance of the Kingdom of Alatheia
against the scourge they call the Dark Queen.
Without your help, we will not survive the week.
It was written by the Queen herself. By the time the King of Alatheia had mobilised his troops, they received word that the Kingdom of L'Haar had fallen. The war council insisted that the troops rode out to meet this 'pretender to the throne' and finish her before she could cross their borders.
They never returned home.
It started like a fog; creeping in from the distance, and all of a sudden it had surrounded everything. The darkness swept across the land, draining the light and the joy from everything.
And in the midst of it all, she appeared.
Part of the dark mist; it wrapped itself around her like a cloak, shrouding her in night. Her face was pale light the moon, angular like cut glass, with lips like the darkest blood. Eyes like midnight, seemingly omniscient and endless in their depth, stared through all before her.
The city saw her once, as she rode through the streets on a black horse to claim the throne. She disappeared as suddenly as she had taken over, in to the castle as the banners of the old King fell to the floor.
It was the fourth Kingdom she had defeated in one month.