by: Ken Williams
Admiral Guilon returned from the fray victorious. The Battle of Esserel Island had been won by the great Navy of Hydros. Guilon boarded his ship to meet stares of horror on the bridge. On his water-composed body was a suit of flesh, skinned off three citizens of the island. The torso of a large, probably muscular man wrapped loosely around the water, the head of a young female squeezed his face, and the legs of a tall, slim man caused his legs to grow thin and long. The flesh now hung awkwardly off Guilon, stained with the blood. Guilon merely laughed boisterously at their reactions of horror. “Haven’t you seen a fleshling’s corpse?” he yelled. He pulled out a knife and threw it in the air. The blade hit the ceiling and cut into it, rooting in place.
“What do you think you’re doing, Admiral?” came from the edge of the hall. Guilon turned around to see his second-in-command, Vice-Admiral Hyr Belladonna. He was a man without emotion. It was always a mystery what he was thinking, but Guilon had been sure for a long while now that he had been trying to take his hard-earned position of Admiral. His sister, Nightshade, was the prince’s girlfriend, so he was able to climb the ranking ladder faster than Guilon ever could have.
“We won the battle! Now Pyros is ours for the taking! Make a call to the High Landsponge and tell him we’re ready for the invasion!” was Guilon’s raving reply
“I mean, why are you wearing the skin of fleshlings as if they are an article of clothing?” Hyr replied without a hint of sympathy, just coldly calculating the events
“As a humiliation to the leaders of Pyros and the Red Atular for their involvement! This is the Red Atular Baron’s family! Marle Grannis, Lasha Grannis, and Pule Grannis” Guilon let out a sadistic laugh.
“What about High Landsponge Watr? You know he doesn’t condone killing civilians. The consequences will be severe,” was said in that cold tone again. Guilon could feel it. His vice-admiral was using the worthless Atular to supplant him.
“I don’t care what a prince-turned-military does to me! I earned this position!” he roared desperately. He killed the last Admiral. He used the ship to win the first naval battle in Hydros. The position of Admiral was his by the King’s rights.
The Vice-Admiral pulled out his sword. “By the authority of High Landsponge Hydrops Shekal Watr the Second, I put you under military arrest.”
Guilon stepped back and drew his weapon, a scythe. “You are my subordinate! You can’t arrest me!”
One of the crew members turned around in his chair. A Hydrosian with purple armor, short dark green grass coming from his head and starting to form a beard, and cold green eyes stared at the admiral as he Hydrosian stood up. “I can, Admiral. You have broken my code of honor for the last time.” Hydrops Watr the Second looked at him. He was the High Landsponge of the Hydrosian Empire, the most powerful man in Hydros, not counting the king, but who had ever counted the king? Guilon felt Hydrops’s powers penetrating his mind. He was a psychic, one of the few to master both telepathy and telekinesis…and other unknown powers
“They were our enemies!” Guilon shouted defensively
“THEY WERE CIVILIANS! Even if they weren’t, we do not mutilate enemy corpses! You have stained our nation with their blood!”
The metal of the walls bent in Hydrops’s rage. Guilon could do nothing but stand back, hoping Hydrops would not unleash his wrath here. He couldn’t by his code of honor. There had to be a trial, and he had no proof of anything. A smile curved his lips, and slightly on the dead girl’s. It more just kept hanging, torn. Even so, he didn’t trust Hydrops. He’d find a way anyway. The Admiral stood his ground defiantly and pulled his knife from the ceiling. “You won’t take me!”
Hydrops’s face turned cold ask he pulled his sword, Lifethief. Its silvery glow blinded as the serrated edge pointed at Guilon’s neck. It was only theatrical. A blow to the neck could not kill a Hydrosian. Only destroying the nucleus kept in the head could do so.
“I feel compelled to warn you, Guilon, that the chances of you getting off with anything less than a death sentence are practically nonexistent. We will have your trial after the conflict in Pyros has ended. As this ship is necessary for the invasion, we will have a Black Atular ship transport you to Hydros.”
Admiral Guilon sneered. He thrust his knife into the power source of the main computer. Electricity surged though the room, causing the High Landsponge to back away eyes wide in terror. Interesting, Guilon thought, the boy is afraid of electricity. The Pyrosians might give him shelter if he gave them that little tidbit. After all, the Pyrosians
had no reason to hate him, only the Red Atular, and the two’s relations were shaky at best despite their alliance.
Two large Hydrosians took Guilon by the arms and took him away. Hydrops turned to Hyr and held out his hand to shake, “It appears you are now the Admiral. I appreciate your loyalty, even though my situation with your sister is no longer relevant to Hydros.” It had been rumored that Nightshade and Hydrops were ending their affair, which was fine by Hyr. The girl had always been…wrong.
“My sister is hotheaded and foolish. She could never be a queen.”
“So is Rose. But I at least Rose is predictable, and I know her motives. It’s a pity, though, that I must marry. And this soon,” Hydrops sighed. It was well-known that Hydrops never wanted his princess, or a princess at all. Perhaps he didn’t even want a kingdom. He was more powerful than the king already.
Hyr kneeled to his superior, “I thank you for this role, High Landsponge Watr. I hope that after tomorrow, we will not need my leadership any longer.”
“I do as well.” The High Landsponge put his hand on Hyr’s shoulder. “Ready the ships, we must go to attack Pyros.” The Pyrosian mainland was a few hours away by boat. Hydrops intended to attack from the sea while the Black Atular focused mainly from their borders. It was a good plan…if the new lord of the Black Atular could be trusted.