The lower decks of the Burning Ember were crowded and full of excitement. Soon, Vandresa would give the signal to Lilliana and the Sack of Esses would begin. While waiting, Lilliana was sharpening her dagger in the corner. When she was done, she flipped her cowl up and turned on her heel quickly to address her men.
"Men, this is the day. This is the day we take the Traitor Queen and throw her from her throne. A throne that she stole from our rightful Queen; Vandresa Landen. The Gods have favored her though, giving her blessings and riches she does not deserve. As I speak, the Queen sits upon that throne, thinking of new ways to hurt us. The dawn is near and our cries will be heard on the horizon. Live, or die, we will fight for our honor, we will fight for our Queen, and by the Gods we will fight for freedom! For Vandresa! For the Queendom!" Lilliana shouted.
The men banged their swords on their shields and cheered. Lilliana had successfully rallied her men and put a fire in their heart that wouldn't burn out until a sword went through them. Lilliana smiled, and even shed a single tear. She knew how this batttle would play out. She knew how the Gods had thrown the dice, and that it wouldn't be an easy battle to win.
Maven rushed into the throne room with her council, and once the council was in, the large doors were shut. The tensions in the room were already rising. Maven knew if they found out that she killed the King, that she would be tried for treason against the Southern Kingdom, even though she was of Landen blood.
"The King is dead." Loran stated.
"You don't think I know that? You don't think the entire city knows this? Everyone knows now. How do I explain to my children that their father is dead. My loving husband is dead." Maven paused to take a breath.
"I know this isn't the best of times your grace, but I think we should start the preparations for Prince Rogan's crowning ceremony." Tyron said.
Maven put her head in the palm of her hand and sighed. "You're right. We must begin the preparations for the crowning ceremony. The Southern Kingdoms cannot go without a King for too long. When word reaches the rest of the Kingdom... Gods be good. Peace must be maintained, and if a few heads have to go, so be it."
The large wooden doors bursted open, and Lord Bormir stormed in. "Maven, have you heard?"
"That the King is dead?" Maven looked concerned.
"No, that your niece has called the Landen banners and sails for Esses." Bormir said in an irritated tone.
"Vandresa sails for Esses? Delightful. Father, have you any word on when she is to arrive?" Maven asked.
"No, but it is rumored from King's Point that she has named Lilliana Raventusk the Grand Admiral of the Landen fleet." Bromir replied.
"She appointed Lilliana as Grand Admiral? Does she not know that she has no power? Does she not know that the Landen fleet goes by my word and not hers?" Maven asked sounding distressed.
"Maven, Vandresa has infulenced some of our supporters in her cause. I fear that House Landen is in grave danger." Bormir said.
The wind blew through Vandresa's hair as she returned to the docks. Hidden on her face was a small smile. By noon she would call the men to battle, taking the guards by surprise. As she was walking back to the Burning Ember, she heard the bells chime. The bells only chime for two occasions; the death of a monarch, or enemies on the horizon. Trying to keep her stature and stay calm, she began to speed walk back to ship.
Lilliana greeted her halfway. "Vandresa, they don't know, do they?"
"They shouldn't. We came by surprise. Even then, a raven would take at least three days to arrive and we left only two and a half days ago." Vandresa replied.
"The King is dead!" The Crier shouted.
Lilliana and Vandresa looked at each other. Thank the Gods.