Sleeping Queen Picture

So, this is my entry into Dark-Anatomy's awesome mythology contest. As asked in the rules, I even tried my hand at storytelling! I hope it's entertaining. I did put a fair amount of effort into it. Anyhow, let me know what you think, and if you have the chance please enter this contest! The deadline isn't until February 25th, and it's a fun theme in my opinion.

*****Odara the Sleeping Queen****

This is the story of Odara, a woman belonging to Imiri tribe, an oppressed people that were forced into servitude at the hands of the brutal Goran Empire. A farming people, the Imiri were forced into the fields of their land where they worked endlessly to provide crops for the entire empire.

One day while working in the fields, Odara heard a small voice seemingly call out from below the thick field of grains, “Psst. Hey. Hey you!”

At first she ignored it, but after a couple more whispers she decided that had to see for herself where this voice was coming from. Looking around cautiously, she ducked down, disappearing into the thick stalks of grains in search of the owner of the tiny voice. She sifted through the stalks until she finally uncovered the mystery... a ferret.

“My apologies,” He said earnestly, looking up at her with his black, marble-like eyes. “I have been trying to get your attention, but I can only speak so loud with such a small body.”

Odara simply stared, amazed at the tiny animal.

The ferret flinched suddenly and responded, “Oh! I’m so sorry! This must be a shock to you that I can talk. I should introduce myself. I am Khari, a lesser spirit of these lands.”

Odara became even more apprehensive at this announcement. “Wha-- What do you want from me?”

Khari reared up on his hind legs, presumably in an attempt to appear noble, “I want to help you free your people.”

“Free my people?” Odara scoffed.

“Is that not what you want?”

“It is, but why are you willing to help? What’s in it for you?”

“I desire to become a greater spirit.”

Odara furrowed her brow. “And how am I supposed to make that happen?”

“I will grant you my power. Right now, it is not much, but it will grow if your people place their faith in me. Use my strength to defeat your oppressors and build the faith of your people. Each follower will make us stronger, and our power will continue to grow. Together, we will overcome these curs. You and your people will be freed.”

Odara churned over the proposition for half a second before asking, “What do you mean by our power?”

Khari answered, “Because I am a lesser spirit, I cannot maintain my own form. With my current abilities, I can only interact with this world through a physical host.”

“So, you’ll possess me?” Odara was terrified at the thought.

“What part of lesser spirit do you not understand?” Khari retorted, seemingly a little irritated. “I do not have the power to possess a human. My consciousness and my power will exist inside you, but cannot – and would not – control you. Anything with a strong will is outside of my realm of control anyway. It takes almost all the strength I can muster just to control this tiny, wretched body.”

“Aw, it’s not wretched,” Odara chuckled a little. “You’re actually quite the cutie.”

“Well actually,” Khari bowed his head and looked away. Was he blushing? Could ferrets even blush? How awkward. Before he could finish his thought though, Odara interrupted.

“But why me?” she asked. “Why don’t you approach a strong man, someone who would make a great warrior? Surely, someone like that would serve much better to lead the people than I would.”

“Well, I was getting to that,” Khari replied, still looking away. His entire demeanor had changed now. Odara wondered what could have possibly shaken his confidence so suddenly. “There... is another thing that I would ask of you.”

“Really?” Odara said, the skepticism returning to her voice.

Khari resumed eye contact with her. “Once I become a greater spirit, I will have to strength to manifest my own body and walk in the world without a vessel. When that day comes, and I am free like your people... I... I would ask that you marry me.”

Odara’s face froze in the same stunned look that it had made when she first discovered her new ferret friend.

Khari broke eye contact again. “You see, I oversee these fields and help the crops grow. Believe it or not, I was a greater spirit once before. I was adored and even had a temple built in my name, but the Gorans brought their own spirit with them when they took over this land, forbidding devotion to any others. Over generations, my followers were either killed or abandoned me, and with them went my power. On the verge of fading into nothing, I came to these fields so that I could at least die in peace. But then I beheld you. In my entire existence, you are the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes upon. Even as you toil in these fields, you move with a grace that defies the suffering that you and your people endure. And your songs are so sweet and full of love. Although they were not directed at me, they filled my heart and gave me strength. Without you, I am sure that I would have faded away long ago. I can honestly say that is only through the kindness and love inside your heart that I still exist. I have fallen in love with you, and if I could ask for any one thing, it would be to stay with you and bask in your love forever.”

Odara just looked down at the small creature. Had this ferret really just professed his undying love to her? Odara didn’t know what to think. At the same time, she had never heard such kind words before. She began to blush herself as she recounted Khari‘s words in her mind. She paused a little more before pursing her lips to speak, but before she could say anything, a sharp whistle and the crack of a whip broke the silence. Odara collapsed onto her hands and winced in pain as a guard stood over poised to strike her again.

“You here to work, not play with the animals,” he said stonefaced.

In spite of the pain coursing through her shoulders, Odara was able to open her eyes slightly and see Khari reaching to her with his tiny paws.

“Please,” he pleaded. “Accept me. Let’s end our suffering together, once and for all.”

Odara took one nervous gulp as she stared at the diminutive creature, then she gently placed one finger between the outstretched paws. Just then, the whistle of the whip hissed through the air. However, this time there was no crack. Odara stood in her newfound strength, hoisting the field guard up by his neck.

As the guard pawed feebly at her arm, she looked straight into his eyes and uttered two words. “No more.” With that, she crushed his neck and dropped his motionless corpse into the sea of golden grains.

Every slave and guard in the field had stopped to observe the spectacle by now, and all eyes were trained on Odara without exception. her heart was pounding, overflowing with adrenaline and the power that she was still trying to become accustomed to. She cleared her throat before speaking again.

“The spirit Khari has given me his strength,” she announced, her eyes panning the full area of the field as she spoke. “If you believe in him, as I will, then he will lead our people to freedom and prosperity.”

The slaves murmured amongst themselves. Almost immediately, Odara could feel the power within her amplify itself a hundred times over. It was so overwhelming that she thought for a moment her body may rip apart from the inside. They believed! Her people were actually willing to place their faith in this lesser spirit in the hope that he would free them, and she could feel every drop of devotion from them in the form of the energy flowing through her. With even more confidence, she took a deep breath then continued to speak.

“And if you stand against us,” she said, looking directly at each and every guard, “then I will crush you. You have seen my power. Try me if you will.”

The guards considered their plight for no more than a second before dropping their whips and fleeing from the field. The slaves all stood, staring at Odara in silence. She readied herself to speak again, but before she could say a word, every woman and man kneeled before her, only their backs showing among the tall stalks.

From that day, Odara led her people in a revolt against the tyrannical empire, liberating the oppressed and gaining more followers with the conquest of each city-state. With each victory, word of Odara and growing powers finally reached the empire’s capital city, where the Gorans’ spirit Coryxis made his home. By this time, Odara and Khari had become far too powerful to destroy, and Coryxis was doubtful that he could even stop them from sacking the capital. Nevertheless, he was not content to allow all of his followers, the source of his power, to be wrested away from him.

Eventually, Odara and her army did push their way to the gates of the capital. As they prepared to begin the siege, a white flag rose frantically from the nearest lookout post and the main gates slowly opened. The emperor himself emerged, alone and atop a white horse wearing only his crown and a simple white robe. He stopped just short of Odara before dismounting. He took a long, slow bow.

“Wrathful child,” he began, “I have felt the power of your destruction swarm over my land, devouring what I have built as a plague of locusts devours the crops. You do not understand the greatness that you undo through your selfishness. Alas, I fear that I cannot stop you and whatever wicked power pushes you to bring this destruction. As a true leader, one who knows what is truly best of the people, I would give anything to stop your senseless acts. And for that reason alone, as much it pains me to give up a lifetime of work, I will cede my crown to you to stop this bloodshed. I hope this satisfies you, heathen.”

Without blinking, Odara replied, “I will be satisfied when no more people suffer in the name of your so called greatness.”

“So it will be. May I at least ask that you prevent any further shame by allowing me to pass the crown in an official Goran coronation ceremony?”

Odara nodded, “Very well.”

“Thank you. My attendants will come shortly to receive you and prepare you for the ceremony.”

With that, the emperor bowed once more, mounted his horse with a considerable amount of effort, and retreated once again inside the walls of the capital.

The next day, Odara entered the ceremonial chamber of the palace dressed for her coronation. According to the customs she had been taught the night before, she knelt at Circle of Anointment, awaiting the coronation party. She expected the party to consist of a large group of emissaries, politicians, or other nobility. However, she was surprised when only the emperor entered, plainly dressed with the crown and royal scepter in-hand. He walked slowly to Odara, bowed once more, and handed her the royal scepter. Then he placed the crown atop her head and uttered one phrase.

“May this land forever be protected by the one just ruler, guided by a just spirit.”

As soon as he placed the crown upon her head, Odara could sense something was wrong. She had instantly lost any connection with Khari. She could no longer feel his presence or his power dwelling within her. In fact, she couldn’t even move a muscle. As she tried desperately to sense Khari’s presence, the emperor’s attendant came in placed chains on her arms. Though it was too late, she finally realized what had happened... the crown had been cursed.

Coryxis, desperate to maintain his power, had devised the entire plan. He had taken the emperor’s crown and cursed it with the ability to stop the flow of spiritual energy within the wearer. Completely paralyzed, Odara could only listen as the emperor walked out the door. It seemed as though he was talking to someone.

“I think it worked,” he whispered nervously.

“Of course it did,” answered a much stronger sounding voice. “Did you doubt my power?”

“No, of course not. So what do we do now?”

“She will not die just yet. With the spirit inside her, they are like a god in combined power. The crown does not negate that power, it simply keeps her from using it. For that reason, we must keep it on her at all costs. To actually kill her, she must first be stripped of the spirit’s power.”

“How?”

“We must kill the spirit.”

“How will we—“

“How dense are you?! Her followers must die. Every last...” the voices trailed off.

Forever frozen in what should have been her moment of glory, Odara could not even shed a tear as the emperor departed to begin the inevitable slaughter of her people. Unable to do anything else, she fell into deep slumber, dreaming of the day that her cursed crown would be removed and she be reunited with Khari. Even more so, she longed for the day that she claim vengeance for her people.

...or at least that’s how the story goes. How does it end? I don’t really know. It was kind of an off-the-cuff thing. I don’t think she died because in the fieldsit was her kindness that kept Khari alive, so it’s possible that they could still be sustaining themselves on the love they share for each other, waiting for the day that someone stumbles upon that chamber that was sealed so long ago and removes the cursed crown.

Thanks for reading!


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