By: Jerome Brooke

Astarte was one of the last of her mighty race, and was said to be the offspring of the Storm God. She ruled many worlds, times, and planes of existence. Her Satraps ruled her provinces as viceroys, at her pleasure.

Hymns to the Goddess, Introduction, p. 7.

* * *

Immortal Astarte, I have written this dispatch to record the war with the Hive Folk. The Princess Leta, Viceroy of the Isles, has led your legions in battle – pursuant to your gracious command. If all is seen by you as fit and proper, I will record these words in the Imperial Annals. I salute you, dread sovereign, and remain your loyal commander, Prince Delus, called the Hunter.

* * *

I saluted the Lady Leta with my sword. “Your regiment is ready, My Queen.”

“We will take wing, Hunter!” quoted Leta.

The Princess Royal donned her helm, traced with gold. She wore a coat of mail, bearing gold and silver plates - marks of her rank.

I followed the Lady to the central square, where our dragoons did await. I helped the Lady to mount her green beast and then climbed up behind her.

“Rise!” commanded the Lady, slapping the neck of her dragon with her goad. The massive wings of the beast lifted us high, as we headed for the plain outside the hill fort. The helm of the Queen was bright in the light of dawn. Her dark hair, cropped short, was hidden by her helm.

Below, I saw our cavalry moving towards the Hive Folk lines, in the distance. The other riders of our winged regiment joined us in flight. We were a splendid sight, to our own forces. The Hive Folk could see their doom before them, in the sky.

When we passed our legions on the surface, Isis gave a blast of her horn of brass.

“Attack! Attack!” she screamed.

We swooped down, toward the lines of the foe, below on the plain. When we neared the raiders, I took one of them down with my bow.

Our beast wheeled, and descended behind the rear ranks of the Trolls. The dragon grasped one of the trolls in her claws. Another of them fell victim to her jaws. Our mount then took wing once more, rising above the ranks of the raiders. She dropped the foe in her claws into the enemy ranks below.

Our other sky riders were also on the attack. Their arrows rained down on the horrid enemy, covered in scales like their lizard kin.

Two of our regiments carried vats of burning pitch suspended on chains. When they were above the enemy, they dumped the burning tar upon the foe below.

Our cavalry and chariot regiments had reached the enemy lines. We made another attack in the enemy rear. Our arrows took a heavy toll.

The foe was convinced. They began to flee in disorder. Our cavalry cut many of them down in pursuit. Our winged squadrons swooped down on the enemy as they tried to flee.

I landed with Leta in the rear of our own warriors, and we took our place in the imperial chariot. The shieldmaidens of the princess raised a cheer, and clashed their war axes against their shields.

“Long live the Lady of the Sky!”

“Glory to the Scarlet Prince! Glory to the Hunter!”

Thus, my Queen, Astarte the Immortal, I have recorded the victory of your Viceroy over the craven foe, as you did command. Your daughter, Leta, the Princess Royal, was seen by all to be in the forefront on the day. I will follow this with an account of your victory in the Dark Isles. I pray that all that I write finds favor in your eyes, most dread ruler of the Empire and the Destroyer of Worlds.

* * *

“Well have you earned the mead you drink this night! Long will I remember your service to me,” said Leta.

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About the Author

Jerome Brooke was born in Evansville, Indiana.  He now lives in the Kingdom of Siam.  He has written the City of the Mirage (Amazon) and many other books.
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