The Incarnations: The Incarnal War (Chapter 1)

The Incarnal Battlegrounds

King Good sits dutifully and peacefully by the bedside of his closest friend. His long flowing brown hair cascades over his shoulders. Like his brother, humans look like him.

He isn’t what a mortal would call ‘flashy’ like his brethren, he has more in common with the eventual Kings of Sumeria than any Lord or Lady.

His Majesty holds Sir Gratitude’s hand in his, as the Sir lays sick in bed. Sir Gratitude’s skin is gray with a hint of sickly blue. Not as inspiring as his usual platinum skin. He used to shine, to sparkle and gleam. Now he lays dying. His hair weathered and black, a hint of ill lime as an overcoat, the only vestige of his once great beauty. His beard which I once found well kept and magnificent, has become patchy, falling apart due to the cancer inside of him.

Even Sir Gratitude’s bedroom symbolizes his decay, once large, grand, and decadent, has grown small, and bland. The walls simply gray, the look of cement. He says it’s so he can project images of the world around him, but he usually finds himself not wanting to see it.

King Good sits at his closest friend’s bedside, trying to glean from the universe just how he can save Gratitude, but Honor has denied him that ability.

His Majesty holds the Sir’s hand and promises, “I will win this war before it kills you, this I swear.”

The frail god holds together his cracked lips, and a tongue so parched, no spring has the water to give them color. Sir Gratitude tries again to relay to his friend, “That is not what I need, your Majesty.”

“I cannot lose you.” King Good so rarely has found kinship in those who do not need his guidance, so Sir Gratitude is so near and dear to him. It’s his Majesty who needs his Sir. “You do not deserve this, and I will make sure that those who have done this realize their crimes.”

Sir Gratitude shakes his head, slowly and knowingly. “That is not the way… that is not my wish,” he tries to say.

“I know,” the King admits, though there’s no way to know if that statement is true, “but it is the only way I know how to fix you.”

The Sir sighs sadly, saying only one thing with finality, “How far we have all fallen.”

King Good stands to his feet, and clasps his friend’s hands warmly. He promises, “I will visit you again soon.” Then he outstretches his wings.

The King’s wings are that of a hawk, a predatory bird. They are of power, resilience, and bravery in its many dark colors. They are wings to respect, to honor, and to fear.

With a flap of his wings he flies across the vast lands of the Incarnations, to my simple stone throne, where I oversee all the battlefields and the cosmos. When my son appears I look down upon him, his height a quarter of my shin.

He dips his head to bow to me with respect. “Has anything changed on the frontlines?” he asks to know.

I wave my hand, and my globe of the world separates into pieces to see images of each separate battleground.

I look first upon the Sands of Sadness, the Madam’s lands. I see her army retreating deeper into the deserts. Madam Sadness’s lands are only traversable by her own, or those with the ability to know all, an ability currently being restricted. This makes it imperative for those who follow to follow close at her heels.

“The combined forces of Sir Happiness and Sir Peace have pushed Madam Sadness back into her realm. Unfortunate, I wanted Sir Happiness’s territory, but him being unable to traverse her Sands on his own will give her the edge to hold out until another can reach her.”

Then I look for War, to see his armies heading towards the Duke of Destruction’s molten lands. Destruction has been attacking both sides, and needs to be put down. The two Dukes have always had a rivalry between them, but this War has never won before. War has this belief that now as he is fueled by the greatest war of all, he has the power to overcome Destruction.

“The Duke of War is now heading to combat the Duke of Destruction and his savagery. Once he has won, War will head to attack the Sirs from behind and assist the Madam.”

His Majesty looks upon the imagery with a hand holding his chin. “I hope she can hold out that long. I will divert many of my angels to assist her.”

I’ve always found my son’s need to form his servants after himself to be strange, but now that their wings have a tactical advantage, I appreciate it.

King Good then inquires about the Lord of Fear and Nightmare. “How is the Lord Dread faring against Lady Justice’s artillery?”

I wave my hand to change the battlefield, and Lord Dread is already recuperating his forces after a rather swift victory over Lady Justice. A good sign for us.

Lord Dread joining our side was surprising, though most welcome. His power, his armies, and his sword are unmatched by any Incarnation on Death’s side, besides Death herself.

“Lord Dread is continues his conquest without any sign of stopping, I shall ask that he move to take over Justice’s lands as soon as-”

I do not get to finish that sentence as I feel a pulse of concern wash over me. My son feels it too as we turn to look at each other. With this sense of fear and worry, someone is at risk.

I wave my head and I am shocked by what I see.

I gasp, as King Good growls in rage.

Lady Hate has attacked and torn down Lady Love’s castle. It now lies between Lord Dread’s army and Lady Justice’s lands as Lady Hate’s horde storms it. Her armies pillaging the castle.

A castle that once flew from Incarnation to Incarnation, now lays in the ground as fire burns from its windows and peaks.

I mutter, “We must save her.” Not only is it the right thing to do, if we gain Lady Love’s aid and support, we have what we need to inspire the troops. Love inspires armies like no other.

King Good is in agreement. “We cannot leave dear Love to Hate’s savagery. But what can we do? Due to both Lady Love’s and Hate’s neutrality their lands and castles are blocked. We cannot simply appear, we must physically march. Neither I, nor my armies can move fast enough, not with these restrictions.”

The Incarnal Pressure, it’s their defense against each other. An Incarnation’s dominion is his own, that makes it all the more difficult to trespass.

I also point out another grave matter. “There is no chance in all of Creation that Death is not thinking the same as us.” She will assuredly make a point to save Lady Love. The Lady would be as much a help to her as she would be to us.

The globe changes to see if Death has sent anyone, and she has acted faster than I could have anticipated. Death has sent Madam Honor and her platoon. Honor is the best swordsman to ever live, but her lack of power and speed means that without her shield, she stands no chance against Hate. “Death is sending Honor to die, or at best to stealthily retrieve Love.”

His Majesty sees where I am going, and develops ideas of his own. He states carefully, “Death must be hoping that we will send someone to distract Lady Hate, that is the Madam’s only chance.”

This is a gamble, there is no way around that fact.

Which means we must send someone who can move to assist Lady Love and defeat both Lady Hate and Madam Honor in a timely fashion. Only one is close enough.

“No,” my son gasps as he comes to the same realization as me. I do not blame him. “We cannot send him. He and Lady Love have never met before. She is not prepared, she will not know how to safely behave around him.”

I admit, with grave apprehension, and helplessness, “Lord Dread is her only chance.” Lady Love’s castle used to visit all her brethren, all but Hate, for obvious reasons, Evil, because of his cruel humor and nature, and Dread.

In centuries past, we warned her of his black heart, his inability to truly care. His honor was something forged because otherwise he’d have no purpose, no resolve, no reason to even live.

Lord Dread is the culmination of all fear, nightmare, and the cause of misery. Love is light, happiness, a caring soul who wishes to envelop and love all. Dread would not allow that. Around Dread, she could easily find herself at his mercy for simply being herself in his presence.

For this reason, we all told Lady Love that she should fear Lord Dread, that she should avoid him and not risk being at his mercy, for he truly has none.

Still, he is her only chance for safety away from the one being who would bring her more terror than the Lord Dread himself, her sister Hate.

I announce solemnly, as I clutch the arms of my stone throne, “We must send Dread.”

King Good opens his mouth to argue, but he has nothing to offer. He knows what must be done.

I form a letter from nothing. It tells of the unspeakable injustice that has befallen Lady Love at the hands of Lady Hate, and how I order Lord Dread to shift course for Lady Love’s castle. I send it across the cosmos to his hands, and I watch as he catches it with surprise.

Lord Dread stands over a burning battlefield, no longer recognizable as the Jungles of Justice. The land at his back is beset by his armored titans who destroy and scour the land for any leftovers. He holds the Terror, the mighty executioner sword, that when cut by it, fills the victim with fear and terror.

He is surprised by it, and only seems more so as he reads it. But when he is done, without a second thought, he turns to his men and announces, “We must change course. For now, we must save Love, and conquer Hate. We must wait before meeting Justice again. Our Creator desires it.”

Lord Dread thinks to himself, and wonders, what Love is like.

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