Elementals-Chapter 11

From: Cheryl Baumgartner(C Baumgartner, Posted Date: Oct 29th, 2011

Duke handed the whip back to Graint.  The man lying shaking and bloodied at his feet whimpered and moaned as he continued to beg for mercy.  Duke simply kicked him in the ribs and walked away.  Graint hauled the pitiful form to its feet and pushed him back into the bellows room to get back to work.

“That one won’t disappoint you again boss” said Graint when he returned, handing Duke a cup of water.

“Indeed.  Normally, I would have just let you punish him, but every once in a while, I enjoy getting my own hands wet, as it were”

Graint smirked, then turned to return to his work on the newest balloon while he supervised the workers.

Duke had to hand it to Benai, those really were a great idea.  They had nearly twenty balloons built by now, and the three towers were coming along very nicely.  Duke smiled in anticipation of his upcoming attack on Water and the many bounties he would collect.





Graint watched the slaves drag a huge metal fanblade across the room, toward the circular opening in the wall that would provide the major ventilation for the tower.  On an impulse, he stuck out a foot as the men passed him.

The lead slave tripped, not being able to see the sudden obstacle, and dropped his end of the blade.  As it crashed to the floor, it landed on the foot of the second slave, severing it neatly from his leg.  Graint laughed heartily as the slave screamed and fell to the floor, grasping his bloodied ankle.

“Graint” Duke called from a doorway across the room. 

“Hey boss, how’d you get over there?” Graint replied, “I thought you went back to your blueprints and water in the tent”.

“Oh, I just wanted to see your progress in here” said Duke.  He walked toward the mutilated man still screaming on the floor, as his fellow slaves picked up the fallen blade and started dragging it again, trying to avoid looking at their fallen comrade.  Pulling his knife, Duke knelt and plunged it into the man’s heart.

Graint looked puzzled.  “A mercy killing?  Boss, that’s not like you.”

Wiping the knife blade on the slave’s clothes to clean it, Duke stood back up.  Without warning, he leapt at Graint and sliced him cleanly through the middle.  As his entrails began to leak from the gash, Graint collapsed, in shock.


“Oh, I’m your boss, but not the one you think.”  Benai now drove the knife into his victim’s throat.  “Next time, Graint, you come back to me”.





Duke finished his water and set down the cup.  He rolled up the papers he’d been studying and leaned back in his chair, rubbing his face.  They’d really have to finish those bellows soon, it was getting far too hot. 

“More water Graint!” he yelled over his shoulder into the next room.

He heard footsteps behind him, and a new cup was passed in front of his face.  Looking into it, he didn’t see water, he saw blood.

“What the….?!”  He jumped up, whipped around, and saw….


Duke and Benai faced each other, identical in outward appearance.  Duke looked shocked and Benai could only smirk.

“Who…” stammered Duke.

“Come now, you know who I am”

It took a moment for the realization to hit him.  “By the Gods, Ben!”

Benai brought the cup of blood to his lips and took a long, loud gulp.  Suddenly, he tossed the remains of the liquid directly into Duke’s face, blinding him.  In that moment of disorientation, it was easy to kick him hard in the gut and then in the face, dropping him to a knee.

Benai’s knife was at Duke’s neck before he could utter a sound.  “Get it right, Duke.  The name’s Prince now.” 

One slash ended it.







            More than 4,000 years later, Prince would encounter 3 people who would forever destroy his reign on Fire and Water, quite literally by destroying the planets themselves.  But his role of controlling the life essences of the living would continue on, simply transferring to the nearest inhabitable planet in the system. 

            The dead assassin in black would be his final victim before that new planet also was destroyed.  The one who had started Prince’s journey through a life filled with death would have his life essence returned just in time to sacrifice it for the sake of the entire Universe.  Prince would enjoy the irony of it as he joined the few remaining living humans on one last trek into the unknown.