Flash: As One

Photo by Massimiliano Morosinotto on Unsplash

Warning: Language

“If the true King of Alanis arose, the three Dukedoms would rally around him and defeat the evil wizard and his minions.” The dark eyes of Duke Lyrcon burned each of his equals in attendance; old though he might be, the warhorse remained a passionate speaker.

Duke Magneek strummed the table. “I’ve looked far and wide, searching the old texts. He that will rise to defeat the Black Eagle foe, to once again sit upon the Throne Sole. The single king, the Chosen one, the Dukedoms made whole.”

“Hold up, hold up.” Duchess of the Echoing Cliff, Brigette Hunfar, pushed the papers in front of her forward and then shoved herself up against the heavy old table. “You mean to tell me, you and my dad had been waiting on some myth to fix everything?”

“Not a myth,” Duke Magneek corrected. “The fulfillment of the Roget Prophecies, the most complete and accurate seer of the Grand Age and all the ages since.”

“So some dude, with no training or experience, is to fight that fascist bastard presently rounding up all Alanis people who have immigrated over the years into GreenVows and Nissey, and, according to our sources, either experimenting on them or executing them, and until he shows up, we have to wait?” Brigette’s voice got shriller the longer she talked. “That is some kind of bullshit.”

“Please, Hunfar, some dignity.” Lurcon crossed his arthritic hands over his belly.

“No, no old man, you don’t get to say that.” Brigette rounded her chair, making her attendants dodge to stay out of her way. “You haven’t seen the refugees coming across the mountains!” She threw out her hands pointing unerringly to where her lands laid.  “It’s fucking winter, you might not know it here by the soft warm waters of Capetown, but winter is insane, and they are STILL coming across my mountains! Dying in droves, but some still make it.” She took two steps closer to the others of the Tribunal of Dukes and slammed her hands on the table. “And instead of being there for my people. For the people needing aid, I’ve been stuck here for the last week getting briefing and explanations from Diplomat this and Department Head that about the state of Alanis. And finally, finally when you make yourselves available for my final indoctrination on the privy matters only the Tribunal knows, you tell me we can’t do anything but let that madman and his followers swallow up the rest of the continent, because we have to wait for some trumped up, sugar-coated bedtime story a deadman dreamed up nearly four hundred years ago?”

“The Chosen One will appear in our greatest need.” Duke Magneek tapped the two sheets of paper in front of him. “Patience.”

“Not only no, but fuck no.” The Duchess paced the other way around the table, pulling her hand through her hair, whatever her ladies-in-waiting had styled her this morning, long destroyed. “People are dying. Dying. Do you understand that word? And you know what is really, really bad.” She crouched across the table, whispering. “People here, in Alanis, are beginning to choose sides, like there is a choice between humanity and monsters.” The men leaned forward to hear her words, her words getting softer and softer. “You even say it,” suddenly she stood and shoved the portfolio the ministers had prepared at them, screaming “in these damn papers!”

Lyron frowned, his thick gray eyebrows meeting. “What would you have us do?”

“Fight, prepare, anything!”

“We have been preparing.” Duke Magneek stood and circled around his chair, leaning his arms on the ornate carvings covering the high back. “Our armies are trained and stand at the ready.”

“Then we fight.”

“We must wait.” The Capetown Duke said.

“You said with a single other person, this maybe King, and our armies, we can defeat the Black Eagle.”

“Yes, that is the prediction. All of us must act together as one.”

“As one.” Brigette stopped her pacing. “That is the true thing we must do. To wait is reprehensible. The murders, the cruelty, the treating of humans, any human, as less than human must stop. Let us act as one. We, all of us, can be the Chosen One. The Black Eagle is still small, he barely has control of Nissey, they are fighting GreenVows incursion tooth and nails. If we act, we don’t wait for some might-be savior, all of us, as one, we can win.”

“We have always waited on prophecy.” Duke Lyrcon said. “Prophecy always provided a savior.”

“But at what cost?” Brigette extended her hands to the older men pleading. “The DragonLords left the land scarred for centuries, the Blathid desert still stretches across a third of the Nexin continent, because Tiggin the Lionheart took three generations to appear once they finished their conquering. The Webzine race is no more.” She shook her head. “We can’t let that happen again. We know what happens when tyrants and genocidal monsters are allowed gain power unchallenged.”

“What if we lose?” Duke Lycron asked.

“Then we lose, but at least we tried.” Brigette bright eyes met the other two Dukes, and they looked away first. “Our armies are large enough. The others countries will stand by us, they are only waiting for us to act. As one. We all act as One. To wait until someone else steps forward is suicide. The countries need GreenVows will fall separately, too small on their own. But the dozen cities-state, and us, and likely the Dominion Church once they see the monsters created from Our People, they will rally around us.”

Brigette looked at her two advisors. Windsor, who stood by her father for decades, and Chopard, her personal guard and dearest friend. Though they did not know exactly what question she was asking with her eyes, they nodded that where she leads, they will go.

She kept her eyes on them, because at this point she was done. “Fuck the Throne Sole. If destiny insists on there being only one chosen, then let us act. As one.” She turned back to the would-be leaders, who were insisting on waiting for someone to follow even they knew what the right thing to do was, but they feared failure. “I will be returning to the mountains tomorrow, and I will be walking across them with the first melts in two months. You may join us or not, but my people and those we are helping will be acting as one. Fascism, lies, genocide, have no place in a world I want to live.”

(words 1098; first published 12/3/2023; created 11/25/2023)

The “text” inspiration for this flash came from an upcoming Aquaman movie trailer. Someone says to Arthur Curry, “If you lead, the seven kingdoms will follow you.” implying that everyone in the underwater world will let the monster take over unless a Chosen One popped up. Like Aquaman could defeat Mantis and his army on his own, and everyone else is just along for the ride. The reality is the seven kingdoms without or without Arthur Curry would win, he is just a figurehead to rally around. Why are they not acting NOW?

That got me thinking about how people wait for someone else to be the first to stand up against evil, letting evil gain power and strength. But if each person acted individually, yet also “as one”, evil won’t gain a foothold. Sometimes systems work against us, but sometimes they can work for us. Be loud. Define the system you want. Make a good system and act “as one”.

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