Flash Friday 12/02/2016: Love Hurts
Athina the Necromancer Queen admired her undead army from her throne of skulls, its ranks in total silence. She liked her armies dead silent just as much as she liked them dead. Turns out, near-mindless corpses were very easy to train.
“Minions!” she called out to the horde. “I am pleased by your progress so far. With every new town conquered, we add yet more to our bulging ranks. Sword and spell find no quarter with bone and necrotic flesh. In no time, the world will be bent to my will. Without information and scouting, however, we are but a single commander leading a single army against the unknown. Does anyone have any news for me? Any reports of the enemy’s plans?”
One skeleton held up a folded piece of paper.
“Ah, excellent,” Athina beamed. “For an army of literal bones and skin, you do a remarkable job on keeping me updated. Very well, you may approach.”
The skeleton approached the skull throne, kneeling with the note outstretched.
“And now,” Athina said, taking the paper and unfolding it with a wicked smile. “We shall learn what the living are up to. It says here…’will you be the knife to my fork?’. Hm, very strange. Not sure what to make of this intel. Wait a minute.” Athina peered at the paper. “This isn’t military intelligence at all. Minion, is this an attempt at flirtation?”
The skeleton looked away. Despite having any skin, it still managed to give off the vibe of blushing.
“Incompetent fool!” Athina screwed up the paper. “To think I’d have feelings for a skeleton! All your brethren realise it as a futile endeavor, do they not?”
All at once, the skeletons in the room looked sheepish.
“‘Knife to my fork’, indeed,” she scorned, as the skeleton slinked back into its rank. “Never heard such tripe in my life. Does anyone else have anything they want to say?”
A zombie shuffled forwards, holding out a note. Athina took it. “Let’s see…’The armies of the South are amassing for your head’. See? This is what a true intelligence note should sound like! Ah, wait, there’s more…’But they are nothing compared to the army I am amassing for your heart’. Ah. A clever little literary switch trick.” She screwed up the note, rebounding it off the zombies head. “Thank you, I suppose. But no thank you. Anyone else? Yes, you, the flesh abomination in the back. What do you have?”
The stitched-together golem of skin stomped forwards, producing his note. Athina snatched it out of his hand and unfolded it.
“‘Roses are red, violets are blue, I don’t have a brain, I can’t make rhymes’. Okay, you know what? Let’s speed up the process a little. Who here has a note?”
The whole army held up the little pieces of paper in their hand, a sea of arms.
“Who here has a note that isn’t romantic tripe?”
All the arms fell back down again.
“Goodness gracious,” Athina sighed. “Should never have mentioned that today is Valentine’s Day. Then again, I didn’t know literal corpses still had heartstrings to tug at. I want every one of you to shred you love notes with your own hands. Maybe that will drive home the point.”
The army’s shoulders slumped in unison.
“Actually,” she quickly added, a smirk appearing on her face. “Keep them. I believe I’ve just had a cunning idea.”
King Lyon watched the undead army from the castle’s battlements. The army itself had not marched any further from their spot a way away from the walls. Instead, their trebuchets were doing all the work, firing salvo after salvo over the castle battlements. This would usually be a cause for emergency, but something was off. King Lyon wanted to know what.
A scout approached King Lyon, panting for air. “I’m here, my liege.”
“Excellent. Has Athina changed her position? Will she continue to bombard us until I agree to negotiate terms with her?”
“She will, my liege.”
“I see. Have the trebuchets fired anything that actually does damage?”
“Not yet, my liege. The only ammunition they’ve used are large sacks full of notes and cards. No reports of building damage or death.”
“What do the notes and cards say?”
“Terrible things, my liege. The civilians are in disarray. People are being accused of cheating on their loved ones. Cheesy one-liners and pick-up lines fill our streets. A guard went insane when one poem tried to rhyme ‘cuddles’ with ‘couples’.”
“Did you manage to recover a sample of what they’re attacking us with?”
The messenger dug out a card from his pocket, handing it as if it were on fire. King Lyon took it, peering at the teddy bear design across the front of the card. The text read, ‘When you’re not by my side, I can bearly take it!’.
“Puns,” King Lyon scowled, scrunching up the card tight in his fist. “The artform of a terrible enemy. Tell the guards to burn as much of the propaganda as they can. This town shall not fall.”
“Very well, sir.” The messenger turned to leave. “Actually, I forgot to mention. Athina herself stated this message should be read by your eyes only.”
King Lyon peered at the messenger. “Oh? What does she have to say?”
The messenger passed a folded note. King Lyon flipped it open, reading the text that looked like a six-year-old had written it. ‘Let me be the queen to your king’.
King Lyon looked over at the undead army. A flesh golem, wearing what appeared to be a sports bra and a skirt, was giving him a shy wave, giggling to itself. He couldn’t confirm it for certain from this distance, but King Lyon could just make out lipstick.
“In fact, scratch my order,” King Lyon said, forcing the note back into the messengers hands as he passed by. “I’ll set up the table of negotiations immediately.”