When yet another month passed, the lady of the towers dreaded the king’s next visitor. But he sent neither herald nor wise man nor priest. This time he sent an army, which he himself led. As the parade of horses came winding toward her domain, the lady sent out her fastest riders to secure the walls and lower the gates against invasion. She armed and armored herself, and stepped out to defend her castle.
The outer walls had been breached, and the army advanced slowly over the low walls of the farmlands. The lady of the towers stood with her guard at the citadel walls, prepared to do battle. A messenger from the king’s army rode ahead to deliver a letter from the king’s own hand. His wax seal on the parchment was a deep plum red.
“This is all your fault,” the letter began. “All I wanted was to love you.”
He begged her once more to tear down her walls so that she might be easier for him to love. He who had never cared for her, provided for her, nor protected her, wanted to strip her of the walls that did. He’d found plenty of men to advance his message, to make it seem reasonable or natural or holy. But these were her walls, and she knew they had value.
The king might think her walls were ugly, but to the lady of the towers they were everything. Her walls defined her space and her role, protected the people and their livelihoods, and made up the towers she called home. Her walls had purpose, they had value, even if the king and his men did not see it.
The lady and her guard defended their home. The king’s army was ruthless but they could not breach the citadel walls. The lady’s archers sent volley after volley of arrows after them, until one by one they fled the battlefield unfilled only the king remained.
“You bitch!” He screamed in anger, his face swollen with rage. He opened his mouth to abuse her further, but the lady had had enough. She lopped off his head with one sword stroke, then dusted off her hands. Much work was ahead of her. She had a new “kingdom” to add to her realms, and a lot of walls to build to keep it safe.