This is my take on Sadje’s fun weekly writing prompt What Do You See? The challenge, to write a poem or story using the great image below. I’ve gone with a bit of fantasy story for this one (~400 words). Be sure to check out the other great takes and if you’re not already, why not consider having a go yourself.
Reaching the summit, she regretted not wearing something warmer. An icy wind blew in from the north, and where it met the scorching desert winds of the south, the elements battled. She’d been a child the last time she stood above the valley, her father by her side. The valley of lost things, he’d called it, and they’d stood for hours watching the spectacular tempest. Nature’s fury only matched by the ferocity of the battle that raged far below. When the clash of steel and screams of men faded on the breeze, with arcs of red lightning blazing across the heavens, her father had left, leaving her to face the storm alone.
A lifetime in exile, the last of her bloodline, she’d roamed the world a pariah. The vile spawn of a tyrant whose name was a death sentence to any who uttered it. She’d lived every day as if it was her last and survived many nights when it nearly was. But with each new dawn, she grew stronger, more determined, and in the shifting sands, she found allies, many.
After two decades in the wilderness, she returned to her homelands a stranger. No longer the frightened little girl who’d fled into the night all those years ago. Those that had persecuted her made the mistake of writing her off. Even though their outrageous bounty remained unclaimed. They should have known better. Instead, they’d become decadent, weak. One thought kept her going, driving her on. She would find what her father had lost and reclaim what was rightly hers.
It was an ill wind that whipped the tears from her eyes as she stared up at the imagined face of her father in an enormous cloud. They’d called him a tyrant. Little did they realise. She was her father’s daughter, she’d have them know that. All who’s folly had been to covert her throne. Below, a cacophony of carnage echoed around the canyon walls, the sound of footsteps approaching. She did not turn. With a flick of her hand, her General spoke. “Empress, we have routed the enemy. Shall we pull back?”
She would show them the same mercy they had shown her and in the process, they’d come to know what real tyranny was. Many things would be lost in the valley today. Turning, she thought she saw a wry smile play across her father’s ghostly face. “No General. It ends here!”