Queen of the Lonely Paths


Ardhyld was a War Queen, her sword never far from her hand. Across the land, thousands quaked in fear of her and her fierce warriors, slaughtering under the Lion’s mark.

One night she and her warriors made camp by the river by the shadow of the Grimwood, laughing and drinking long into the night, rejoicing in the spoils of battle. Their feasting awoke something in the dark: a queen far older, far mightier, and far fiercer than Ardhyld. She came creeping from her barrow, clutching in her hand a gift for the War Queen.

The goblet appeared by Ardhyld’s hand, its skull face staring into her eyes. The bone was cold under Ardhyld’s touch and the silver colder still.

Drunk on victory and ale, Ardhyld thought it just another stolen treasure and raised it to her lips, sipping the strange draught inside. In the shadows, the elder queen smiled.

Ardhyld didn’t die, but neither did she live. With each day she grew thinner and paler, until she was little more than shadow. They say she wanders the mountains still, a War Queen with black eyes and white skin, sword still clutched in bony fingers as she hunts the lonely paths.

Word Count: 200

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction.

11 thoughts on “Queen of the Lonely Paths

Add yours

  1. Wonderful ghost story or legend. I guess she shouldn’t have gotten so drunk she stopped thinking. I would say to you allude to the fact she’s drunk on power, hence why the older queen comes calling. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d imagined the older war queen taking over the younger’s body. Alas, the old queen remains old, and Ardhyld spends her days and nights in aimless wandering, cursed for all time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the way this reads like old mythology. Your tone and style really suit the photo prompt! I also love how you made your warrior a QUEEN–I think warrior kings tend to be the default fantasy image people come to when they picture someone drinking from a chalice, which is kind of a pity. This is truly an awesome story.

    Liked by 1 person

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