Dee Moyza's Story Archive

The Girl with Flaming Hair

Adel held out her arm and studied it: the light, purple-tinged flesh, the long fingers tipped with claws. She made a fist and marveled at the movement of her muscles, how they bulged against her skin. This was strength. This was power. She looked down at Odine, the groveling imbecile, and laughed.

"You think this troubles me?" she asked. "Fool. It may have been an unexpected result of your experiments, but it is most advantageous."

"But, your Grace, people are … they are beginning to talk."

"Let them."

"They say you look nothing like the sorceress they knew. They say that you look like a man now – no, more beast than man. They are beginning to speculate that you died, and have been replaced."

"I did die." Adel looked out the window of the laboratory, at the blue expanse beyond, and saw somewhere in it a village tucked in the Nortes Mountains, a girl with flaming hair, and a boy who said he loved her. When she lit a fire with no matches, when she felled a tree with her mind alone, when she cowered in fear of the power that seemed to be changing her from within, he swore he'd remain by her side, to be her shield and her rock. But when the soldiers descended, when they cast stacks of banknotes and handfuls of coins on the tables of the inns and asked after her, he took her by the hand and led her to them. As the soldiers struggled against her, as they clamped shackles on her wrists and injected her with a tranquilizer, she watched the boy gape at the money, then scoop it into his arms, greedily, lovingly, the same way he used to hold her.

"I died that day," Adel went on, "when I discovered I was worth no more to that boy than a infantryman's weekly pay. When I found out that oaths are empty words spoken out of boredom and that devotion is negotiable." She turned back to Odine. "Do the people really say I look like a man now?"


"Good." She smirked. "It is a result so perfect that I never dared dream of it. To cast aside my femininity, the fragility and weakness it signified, and to become a man for myself, my own knight, in need of no other … what a serendipitous mistake you made, doctor."

"There may still be a way to reverse it …"

"Have you heard nothing?" Adel roared, unleashing a wave of energy that knocked Odine off his feet and sent him crashing against the wall. She strode over to where he lay, enjoying the rush of power she felt towering over him, watching him tremble, realizing she could crush him like an insect.

Later, perhaps. He was too valuable to her right now.

"This unforeseen effect is the best thing that could have happened to me. Now I command respect, now I instill fear! And I've no one else to thank but you, my good doctor. You took a frightened girl and made her into a man. Made her into the ruler of the most powerful nation in the world. If you weren't such a spineless little louse, there might have been a place for you inside the palace."

She kicked the crumpled Odine, smirked as he whimpered. "But, right now, it looks like you won't ever leave your little laboratory alive … unless you do as I say." She left Odine and walked to the examination table, where she began to hook herself up to the monitors. "Continue the experiments. Let's see what other wondrous blunders you make!"

Odine picked himself up and limped over to her. "As you wish, your Grace."

"Oh, and I think it's about time we made another attempt to secure that girl from Winhill. It's been long enough now that the townspeople must have relaxed."

"Why do you want her so badly?"

"Why else? To revisit that girl in the Nortes Mountains, to tell her to stay away from that boy, to tell her to willingly follow the soldiers that would come, because, unbeknownst to her, they would lead her to a life of power that she could never have imagined!" Adel laughed. "Furthermore, among all the gifts you've given me, immortality has not yet been one. I will need to train a successor. One who is young, who will learn and grow and carry forward my ideals, my independence, my strength. Through her, the reign of Adel will never end!"