The woman strode down the main road to the Prince Gorin’s castle, the look on her face as stern as her intent. She approached the gate guards then took an impatient stance as they approached. “Who goes there?” the tall pikeman asked. The woman sucked her teeth as the other guard approached. “My friend asked you a question, wench! You’d do well to…” The woman raised her arm then pulled back her sleeve. An eagle tattoo filled her forearm. The guard’s eyes narrowed then he stepped aside. “You may proceed,” he said. The other guard blocked her way. “What the hell are you doing, Jak! Our orders are…” “Screw orders, Rollo. You best step aside if you know what’s good for you.” The pikeman was about to protest but Jak’s glare convinced him. He lowered his pike. The woman studied the pikeman hard before entering the castle. She needed no directions; she knew the way to the king’s council chambers. The servants made way for her, whether because they knew who she represented or not did not matter. The guards before the council chamber were better informed than those at the gate. They quickly stepped aside as the woman approached. She opened the doors herself then entered. Prince Gorin sat in his throne at an oblong table surrounded by his generals. He looked up from the map covering the table surface and his eyebrows rose when he saw the woman. “Everyone out,” he said. The generals looked in the woman’s direction. Some gave hints of recognition, others were visibly annoyed. “Sire, we have serious plans to discuss,” General Bane said. “Surely you don’t expect us to make way for this…” “Watch what you say, Bane,” the prince said. “Now go!” The woman remained in the door, forcing the generals to walk around her. She closed the door as the last one exited then marched to the table. “We have a problem,” she said. “Apparently,” the prince replied. “I have no time for your attitude,” the woman snapped. “This war must end.” “It will, soon,” the prince replied. “We were just discussing our final strategy.” “You don’t understand,” she said. “This war must end this moment. The people have suffered enough from this useless killing. You’ve virtually destroyed the markets and wiped out entire villages. This war stops now.” “As I said, we are near…” The woman grabbed the prince by his collar then snatched him close. “Do not make me remind you who we are,” she whispered. “I’m not afraid of you,” the prince replied. “Which only reveals how foolish you are.” The woman let him go then walked away. “This is your only message. If war remains between Gorinvale and Odenland tomorrow we will act.” She jerked open the doors then disappeared down the corridor. When the generals returned Prince Gorin sat in his throne rubbing his forehead. “Stanfed,” he said. “I need to send a message to Duke Oden. Tell him I wish to meet him on neutral grounds to discuss terms.” “What?” Bane shouted. “Terms? We have that bastard by the balls! All we need is to carry out our plans and Odenland is ours!” “The war is over,” Prince Gorin said. “Carry out my orders, Stanfed.” Stanfed nodded then left the council room, the others following. Bane remained. “You can’t mean to do this, sire,” he said. “It’s done,” the prince replied. Bane glared at the prince. “Is this because of that woman?” “What woman?” the prince asked. The prince stood then walked away.
I loved the idea of painting Alexcamdria. A city for enlightment and wisdom where the scholars of Europe, the Orient and Africa would exchange knowledge, as a setting - and what the streetlife look like there, when cultures all mix