Drausus the warlord lived in an impenetrable fort on the top of an unclimbable cliff and ruled over his territory with an iron fist and a stone heart. Or, at least, he had.
Drausus commanded the farmers to grow enough for themselves and then enough for him, and those that did not, he put to work in the mines, pulling out steel and gold. Or, at least, he had.
He took his pick of the finest of the young people to warm his bed and keep him company and if they were lucky, when he was done with them he’d arrange a marriage with a member of his personal army. Or, at least, he had.
The woman, the hero, had climbed the unclimbable cliff, bypassed the well-bribed army, penetrated the impenetrable fort, and beaten the unbeatable warlord. She had done the first with tools he had never seen, the second with stealth he hadn’t thought of, the third with a little bit of both – and the fourth, Drausus had to believe was witchcraft and dishonesty and nothing more. She couldn’t have been that good at everything.
She couldn’t be that good at everything. Because if she was, Drausus was never going to escape.
“The rules are simple.” The hero-woman-thing was pacing in front of him. It turned out, Drausus had quickly learned, that the abandoned old fort on the other hillside was neither abandoned nor that old. “You will do as I say, in the manner of our people. When you do not, you will be punished. When you do, you will be rewarded.”
Drausus snarled. “And then what?”
“And then?” She pulled up a chair and smiled at him. “There is no ‘and then.’ I don’t imagine you’ll suddenly become a nice guy, or a good warlord. But I imagine, with a lot of practice, and possibly a few shocks to the system now and then, you could become an obedient one.”
Written to wyste‘s prompt.
This may be fae apoc.
If you’d like to see more of this story, there is definitely more to be written! Just drop a tip in the the tip handcuffs:
We are as of this posting, $17 from three more prompters getting an extra 500-word story, and $35 from a rug for my cave!
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