Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
News
Make the universe a better place! Support DSF with a donation:
small-go-arrowdonate
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
small-go-arrowsearch
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private

Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.
close






An Open Letter to the Rulers of Erathon From Xagaz Widowbane, Eater-of-the-World, Arch-Hypnocrat, Despoiler Magnus, Empress of Weeping Skulls, Defender of Filth, Defenestrator General, and so forth

This is Evan's third appearance in Daily Science Fiction.
I'm not a bad woman, I just come from a long line of them. It's not unusual. Scratch the gilding from any royal family and you're bound to find a seething mess of rapists, traitors, and mass murderers. Your ancestors were the same--difference is, mine were better at it.
But enough about me.
My viziers tell me the Imperial coffers are at a low ebb, and so, with the greatest respect and humility, it falls to me to inform you of the forthcoming annexation of your lands.
No doubt, my ignoble diplomats stand before you even now, proud in their jeweled silk, paunchy and sallow-skinned from long excess. Puffed like winter birds, they will strut and preen, demanding tributes for their terrible master and threatening dire retribution should you demur. It might interest you to know that, also like birds, it pleases me to fit the windows of their manses and high towers with golden bars--easily broken, and yet none shows so much as a scratch.
Better to be a slave in heaven. Isn't that what they always say?
Feel free to execute them. I have too many ministers, and to be honest, they more than deserve it. All I ask is that you do me the courtesy of returning their heads along with a note about how you will never submit to the Empire of Weeping Skulls. I know, I'm not fond of that name either, but it's become something of a tradition here, like marrying brother-to-sister or tallow-binding the children of our defeated foes into the palace lamps. Well, that's not really a tradition so much as a matter of efficiency. Innocents do burn brightest, after all.
But I digress.
No doubt, you're feeling somewhat out-of-sorts. Feel free to insult me, my ancestry, the Empire; close your borders, strengthen your defenses, execute suspected spies and traitors (I can give you the names of a few), even send heroes to defeat me. Really, a good assassination attempt would take a lot of the pressure off. Don't worry, I'll make sure to have a few of your loved ones killed to put us on even footing. My armies have been gathering for years, but I think you'll agree these things flow so much better with some manner of inciting incident.
Speaking of my armies, you're going to love this. Remember noble Uliashtai--ranks of tall, grim warriors with high helms and shields bearing the sigil of the gray tower? How many generations did they stand alone like a sea cliff against the breaking tide of Imperial dominion? Proud men and women, how it cut them to beg you on their knees for aid. I understand your reluctance. You had your own problems--rebels and bandits, pretenders, a wild tangle of impatient heirs plotting your death. The Empire was a distant boogeyman, a threat for another day, another generation. You've probably forgotten about Uliashtai, well, they haven't forgotten about you. Their warriors fight just as well for the Weeping Skull as they did against me, better even, now that they have health care and retirement options.
I know it's not really my place to give advice, but have you considered allying against me? Although it'll make my conquest a bit more difficult, I can't help but feel you'll be better for setting aside those specters of vengeance that have haunted your diplomacy all these years. Does it really matter whose great-uncle killed whose second-cousin-once-removed? I'm almost certainly going to torture, disembowel, then slowly impale your entire extended family.
Sorry, I had to say that. People have certain expectations of a tyrant, but I don't need tell you. Don't surrender unless you really mean it. I much prefer the honesty of agonized screams to horrified deference.
I could promise you wealth, power, glory beyond your most reasonable dreams, but we both know that won't sway you. Even if it did, I wouldn't really want someone so easily purchased. Would you?
In fact, I'm a bit curious as to why you're still reading this. I would think we're far past the point any noble ruler would've cast this parchment away in disgust and ordered their best armor aired out. Well, go on. I've got a whole footnote set aside for you in the Imperial Histories. I'll try to see to it that particular page is inscribed on your flensed skin, but I'm not making any promises. Still, it's the least I can do in exchange for the generous gift of a nice, long moment of your time.
Yours in rule, although not for much longer,
X
P.S. Of course this paper is covered in contact poison.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

RATE THIS STORY
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

5.3 Rocket Dragons Average

SHARE THIS STORY

JOIN MAILING LIST
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
 
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us