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Clouds and Dirt

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“Your majesty,” the minister said. “We have just received news that the invaders have captured the northern territories.”

The queen looked at her minister with a mixture of concern and frustration. The invaders had overtaken almost half of her kingdom. Months of fighting and her forces had only managed to secure a few strategic sites. Across her lands, her people were in bondage to the cruel invaders who had no other gripe with the nation apart from the fact that it was ruled by a woman.

“Dispatch our agents to infiltrate the captives,” the queen said. “We must try as much as possible to mitigate the horrors our people will encounter whilst in captivity.”

“Yes, your majesty,” the minister replied.

The queen turned to her war minister. She paused for a moment, then she stood up.

“Recall the generals,” she said. “I want to know what is happening on the ground.”

The ministers murmured.

“Your majesty, that is highly irregular,” the war minister said speaking up finally.

“Is it not irregular that a kingdom that has stood strong for four hundred years is teetering on the precipice of destruction?” the queen responded.

“Indeed your majesty,” the war minister conceded.

“We will sit down with the generals in order to better understand our enemy’s current tactics,” the Queen explained. “We shall then re-strategise and I will lead our forces into the next battle.”

“Your majesty!” the ministers exclaimed.

“Settle down,” the queen said.

She walked to the centre of the hall.

“There is something I must tell you all, to help you understand why I shall and must do this,” the queen said. “ Back when I was still a princess, my younger sister was married and became queen in her husband’s kingdom, as you all know. That kingdom was invaded by the same invaders we face today. I, in disguise, took a battalion to assist the forces of that kingdom.”

The ministers were visibly shocked. The queen’s story held them in a grip of silence.

“We defeated the invaders and restored peace to that land,” the queen continued. “So you see, I am the only person in this room who has fought these invaders before. Indeed, I am one of only a handful of people in this kingdom who knows this enemy intimately. I have defeated them before and will defeat them again. But I cannot do so from this ivory tower. It is time to descend from these clouds and taste the dirt.”

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