A woman on horseback rode through the battlefield of the Lesiania Plains. Her horse was a dark brown, and well-equipped for war. However, rider seemed unarmed. On her back, was an arrow and no quiver. Upon her thighs and calves, no daggers were tied. The horse's mane flapped in the unforgiving, angry wind. The woman's head was hidden beneath a blue burka, leaving only her dark green eyes and a small patch of darkly tanned skin visible. And the same material, the rich hue of a clear sky at noon, was draped around her in scarves and a belt. Beneath her burka, was the outline of a studded leather breast-plate. Below it, the same blue was once again draped over a skirt of chainmail. More of the blue cloth covered her riding boots.

            She saw it, sparkling, in the corner of her left eye. Despora, you clever bitch, you've done it this time! she thought to herself. However, there were foreign thoughts as well. Wordless thoughts. Through her eyes, they invaded her mind, as a nudge of her foot signaled her horse to gallop through the mess of bodies once more. The alien thoughts congealed, and her mind intuitively game them words.

            Take me, woman, for I am beautiful!

            Despora frowned. She knew not what had invaded her mind, for she dabbled not in foreign magic. And this land, it was foreign. What in the sacred name of the underworld's rectum? Gramalh! she cursed the name of hell's abyss, again and again, Gramalh! I hate this foreign land. Gramalh! Why must the princess's dung-face of a regent call us to war in this dreadful land?

            Because of me! For, I am beautiful! You think you're clever, and perhaps you are, but there are more important things in life, for I am beautiful!

            Despora remembered the folklore she had heard at the tavern, the night before. And, she knew what this was. Protecting her thoughts, she formed a response.

           "You're nothing but an object!"

            Mortal, speak not! I have no ears, for I am beautiful!

            I have ears, and you can hear with mine just fine. She  chided it, moments before leaning on one stirrup and plucking the flower in a gloved hand.

            Ouch! Touch me not, for I am beautiful!

            "Shutup, Lesian."

            How do you know my name? For I am beautiful? The flower asked, as Despora tucked it into the flower into the folds of her burka, above her head.

             "When a higher power demands of a mortal wizard that he imprison the Demi-Goddess of Beauty within a flower... it's bound to stay in the folklore of men and women for more than a few centuries. Heck, they might even name some of the local geography after the Goddess, or the wizard."

            Hee hee, you've got the story wrong, for I am beautiful!

          "Good riddance!" Despora sat comfortably, reins in one hand, as her horse approached a patch of the Lesiania Plains that was less covered in the corpses of mortal beings.

            If you do not plant me in the earth soon, I will die. And that, my dear, will cause a calamity of epic proportions... for I am beautiful!

            "You are only partially beautiful. You see, there is one other who is also beautiful. While you've sat on these plains, a new deity was born into the pantheon to replace you."

            Lesian seemed to wilt a bit, for an instant, though remained quite beautiful.

            "So, you'd only cause half a calamity," Despora said, as a drop of pollen fell from a petal that rested against her forehead. "Hey, are you crying?"

            Yes, for I was beautiful...

            "Yeah, cheer up!" Despora told her, "You're still beautiful!"

            Really, you think so? For... I - I -I am? Am I? I am beautiful?

            "Yup, so beautiful I refuse to even look at you."

            ...You're mean. For I have been beautiful.

            "No, no... I mean, you drove half the black army mad! Daft! And they nearly won, because their strategy was to look at you. Spies claim their generals ordered their men to look at you."

            Scintillating petals curled outwards, as Lesian smiled. You comfort me, for I am beautiful.

            "Yeah, well... you look nice on my head. So I think we're even," Despora said with a chuckle. And then, she noticed a fresh flank of the black army approaching. A firm nudge, combined with an incomprehensible voice command, and her horse turned and bolted in the opposite direction. With one arm, Despora drew her bow. Turning, backwards, she fired an arrow. However, she had no arrows.

            What did you just shoot? You hit several at once! Wow, four... I am beautiful.

            "Pay attention to my vision, you silly flower."

            Behind them, where Despora was still facing as she fired another arrow, was a frozen, black soldier. And as the humidity in  in the air condensed into another runed icicle, Despora shot it at the army that poured around the frozen figure. And, as she shot, adding more obstacles of frozen soldiers between them and the army, Despora was whispering an incantation, to summon the arrows. And each time she let loose the bowstring, an arrow pierced two or three, freezing them like statues.

            You have prayed long and hard, to my elder brother, for that ability?

            Obviously, Despora thought, reluctant to interrupt her final  uttering of the incantation, as her steed took them to far away to make it an efficient use of her spiritual energy.

            You are evil. For I am beautiful.

            Worshipping Ieyerda makes me evil? Since when? Despora was puzzled.

            Ask any of the men who came to sniff my pollen. They'll tell you. There was incessant pride in her thoughts, and it stung Despora's mind as the thoughts formed into words.

            "Oh, that? No, Lesian, that is just a local prejudice." Self-righteous bitch. Thought guarded.

            Back when I was in the pantheon, Lesian continued with selfish conceit,  Most mortals hated him and his followers. They were despised! Almost as much as the necromancers, or the bloodthirsty and violent or the --

            "Perhaps," the archer confided, "perhaps not."

          And, together, they rode off into the distance, nearing the edge of the Lesiania Plains, and the edge of the black bodies. And, also, the edge of another army.



The End

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