Vandresa grabbed the railing of the ship, trying to steady herself. She looked off in the distance and noticed something strange. Off in the distance, she noticed rising smoke. She slowly walked over to the bow of the ship to get a somewhat closer look at the smoke. As she observed the smoke, she noticed the Keep, and that the smoke was coming from the Keep.
"Lilliana, come quickly!" Vandresa shouted.
Lilliana came rushing over to Vandresa, she looked distressed. "What is it?"
Vandresa pointed over to the smoke rising in Esses. "The Keep, it's been set aflame. What is going on over there?"
Lilliana looked more attentively at the smoke. "Vandresa, I'm sure it's nothing to worry about. It was probably an accident, a candle could have fallen or a torch," Lilliana paused for a moment, then smiled, "and anyways, if something did happen to the Queen, that simply means that you will have gotten your wish."
For a moment, Vandresa smiled and was filled with sudden happiness, but then reality set in. "I," she paused, "would finally become Queen of the Southern Kingdoms?" Tears began to stream down her face.
"Yes, Your Grace. The throne will always suit you better than her. You are the one true Queen and no one can deny it. The royal Landens will pay for what they did to your father and mother." Lilliana said, trying to reassure Vandresa that everything would be okay.
Esses was in a panic. People were running left and right, filled with dismay. Guards rushed towards the Keep with buckets of water to attempt to put out the raging fire that had burned through the night. The guards rushed up the staircase that led to the Royal Corridor. As the reached the top, they were greeted with a cloud of dark smoke that clouded their vision.
"Men, we must get up there!" The Captain shouted.
The guards slowly approached the door leading up to the Tower of The Queen. The floorboards creaked under their feet. The guards, sweat running down their face, breathed slowly. Time seemed to never end as they slowly crept towards the door. Suddenly, part of the floor gave out and collapsed!
"Ronan!" The Captain yelled as he ran towards him to try and save him.
Ronan fell backwards, and crashed on the marble floor beneath him. Tymir stood in shock, one of his best guards had just fell to his death and there was nothing he could do about it.
The Royal Corridor began to shake. The Tower of the Queen was growing weaker every second. Tymir turned around and looked at his men. "It's been an honor serving the Queen with all of you." He said, then saluted his men.
The Keep groaned, and the shaking become more violent. In a sudden moment, they all heard it; the sound of crumbling stone. The tower came crashing down upon them. Dust rose, then finally settled. The aftermath was catastrophic. Eleven guards lay limp on the dusty marble floor, and blood ran down the cracks of the floor.
Dust and ash fell from the sky like a thin blanket of snow. The citizens of Esses looked around at each other. Moments after, the bells rang three times, the death of a monarch. The Queen's body had not yet been found, but she hadn't been seen since last night, and she wasn't in the refuge area with all the other nobles.
The Keep was now in ruins and both rulers were dead. The dawn of the new age was soon to begin. A dark man walked through the ruins, searching for something; for a presence. The man looked around at the destruction, yet still looking for a body.
"Maven..." He said softly.