It was meeting time again. The broadcast had shaken people up across the Realms, so the time for action was NOW. Everyone announced their attendance and Elgrad began. “Everyone, we lost a friend during this summit. A friend and a valuable ally when it came to dealing with the Splitters. During our second meeting, Jeefef said that her killing a top citizen would be what we should call the first shot. Well, Dr. Borg took that shot. The question now becomes, what do we do to announce that she started the Final War?”
“I have an idea,” called Orbak. He then pulled out what he wrote last night and the silver quill, then set them onto the table.
“…A Blood Contract, Daddy?” asked Malnar.
“I wrote it last night,” explained Orbak. “We need to show the people that we’re willing to lay down our lives for the Realms.”
“And you think that making such a contract will ensure that?” asked Olmarfa.
“With all my heart.”
“Then let’s sign,” called Rokalla.
“No, not you, not our heirs,” declared Elgrad.
“Excuse me?!” protested Arsha.
“Arsha, we’re not losing our children to war!” declared Elgrad.
“Daddy, that’s not your decision to make!”
“I can’t lose my only daughter!”
“Daddy, if Oyed wins, you’d lose me anyways! At least, with this, there’s a chance I’ll still come back to you!”
“I’m siding with Arsha here,” called Lardeth.
“No!” called Feymay. “I’m not losing you! Not after I’ve carried you in my womb!”
“Mama Feymay, with all due respect, that’s not your call. I must show our Realm that I will protect it by any means necessary.”
“Malnar, you’re not agreeing to this, are you?!” barked Elmpam.
“I’m signing that thing, and you ain’t stopping me!” declared Malnar.
“Guys, the Realms are our homes too,” insisted Arsha. “Like it or not, we DO have a stake in this.” Elgrad looked at his daughter, then sighed.
“All those in favor of signing a Blood Contract, even our kids, say Aye.”
“Aye!” called everyone.
“Against?” No one responded. “Then, tonight, we sign the Blood Contract. Tomorrow morning, the Final War begins. This concludes the All-realm Royal Summit of Year 4,006,300,080.” Rokalla ended the recording and sighed.
A fire was lit in a fire pit behind the Royanas’ castle. Everyone gathered around it in their armor or duty uniforms. A podium stood nearby with the Blood Contract and quill waiting for signatures. Orbak took the podium and began. “Blood has been spilled and it must be avenged. Through this vow, we affirm our vengeance against our enemies.” He then read the contract. “We, the Undersigned, hereby declare, in our blood, the following vow: vengeance will be wrought on the Realm Trinity Empire via its destruction. If any of us attempt to break this vow, our life is forfeit.” He then held the quill out. “Who will begin?”
“I will,” called Feymay. She then took the quill, pricked her left finger with it, then signed her name on the contract. Emfam then took the quill, pricked her finger, and signed. Thus it went, from Lardeth, to Roomef, to Jeefef, to Olmarfa, to Ufnamfa, to Teefmanam, to Pofomofo, to Endram, to Elgrad, to Arsha, to Hanako, to Orbak, to Malnar, and finally to Elmpam. Orbak then took the Contract and held it to the sky.
“I hereby swear the oath proclaimed here, with both mortal and Divine witnesses! Vengeance on the Realm Trinity Empire!”
“Vengeance on the Realm Trinity Empire!” everyone repeated. Orbak then rolled up the contract and dropped it into the fire. As it was consumed by the flames, everyone doubled over in pain, grasping the hand that they signed with. The pain subsided and they released their hands. Scarred on the back of each hand was their signature.
“Now you see why we don’t sign a Blood Contract willy-nilly,” panted Malnar.
The next day, Dr. Borg and her spouses woke up. Dr. Borg reattached her limbs and threw her clothes on, Remsu put her top and gloves on as she arranged her clouds into their usual shapes before setting her hairpiece onto the cloud on her hair, Tensam set his veil onto his head, and Shefarn attached his thumb before he and Tensam entered their water chairs. “What say we get some breakfast?” suggested Remsu.
“Capital idea, my love,” purred Tensam.
“Yummy, more breakfast rations,” muttered Shefarn.
“Better get used to it,” advised Remsu. “If the Final War starts now, rations are gonna be breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a while.” They left their bedroom and made their way to the mess hall. They got their breakfast and sat down to eat. “You know, one would think,” Remsu mused, “that Yamta’s actions would spur the Realms into fighting us.”
“One would think, yeah,” remarked Dr. Borg. “But all we got was the disbanding of the Crimson Diamonds and Calandra taking the Galdredan Throne.”
“And getting a fancy hat out of the deal,” chuckled Tensam.
“Discussing the apparent apathy of the Realms?” asked Oyed’s voice as he appeared in the seat next to them.
“As a matter of fact, My Lord, yes,” answered Shefarn.
“I must say, I’m a little disappointed that not even my children are taking action,” mused Oyed. “I mean, Yamta’s idea had merit. Where did we go wrong?”
“Dr. Borg!” called Rochak’s voice as he burst into the mess hall. “Dr. Borg, why aren’t you spurring us into action?!”
“…Why would I wish to?” asked Dr. Borg.
“…Didn’t you see the news?!” protested Rochak.
“We just got up and had breakfast,” answered Remsu. “What’s going on?” Rochak turned on a viewing screen, displaying Orbak, Elgrad, Arsha, and Emfam in full armor, looking fierce.
“What in all the Realms?” asked Tensam.
“We’re speaking to you all,” began Elgrad, “from the Central Crier’s Square in the Mid-realm’s capital of Largandra.” He took a breath before continuing. “Since her cheating of death via artificial means was revealed, Dr. Cytanek Yavenag Borg has continually harmed the Realms, going so far as to speak to Oyed and create Revenants. We had constantly warned her that, unless we had evidence, physical evidence, that she would cease her actions, a state of war would exist between the Combined Realm Governments and her Realm Trinity Empire.”
Termaf, Yunfeen, and Tufarmem hugged each other close as the broadcast went on. “In response,” Emfam supplied, “she sent one of her minions to assassinate Queen Andwayla Narven of the Under-realm’s Galdredan Lava Kingdom to demonstrate her displeasure of our methods to remove the Splitter threat. Not only did she harm a good friend of mine, not only did she also attack Rellmeer and force the Crimson Diamonds to disband, but she did so in the Mid-realm and in Oyed’s. She has attacked all three of us and the Divine Ones that breathed life into her ancestors.”
Enfanti looked like she was about to cry as she and Delga watched the broadcast. “Last night,” continued Orbak, “we all gathered for a final meeting…and decided that enough was enough. Andwayla Narven will be avenged with the destruction of Dr. Borg’s organization. People of the Three Realms, it is our solemn and heartbreaking duty to inform you…we hereby declare war on the Realm Trinity Empire. The Final War has begun.”
Falnii sobbed into Foresna’s shoulders as Gorfanth ran his hand down his face in frustration. “This decision wasn’t made lightly,” Elgrad went on. “We never wanted to see the Final War in our lifetime. Still, if we must fight Oyed now, then fight we must, for our survival depends on it. Despair not, for there IS a ray of light on the horizon. The Divine Ones had revealed their own Blood Contract to us that they would take an active role in this war and assist us on the front lines.”
“WHAT?!” shouted Oyed as the declaration reached his ears.
“The Divine Ones,” explained Elgrad, “know more about Oyed than we do. Their joining us will ensure victory for us! My daughter has one of them aboard her ship, ready to serve as is their duty.” He stepped back and allowed Arsha to speak.
Arsha’s Senior Staff now had Lord Mordek, one of the Red Divine Ones of Fire. They watched from the conference room. “Too long have we allowed the Realms to endure Dr. Borg’s machinations,” began Arsha. “Time and again, we’ve defeated her, but we’ve exacted no retribution, demanded no remuneration. …What have we gained for our attempts at peace with her? More death, more intrigue, more senseless violence!” She drew in a breath to calm herself before continuing. “As someone who will fight to protect her future as the Mid-realm’s Queen, heed me. No longer will I attempt to treat with Dr. Borg. No longer will I simply defend the Realms. As per the vow I have taken last night, I will seek out and destroy all who threaten the Realms’ peaceful future. No mercy will be shown, no quarter given!”
Back in Plunder Island Stronghold’s mess hall, Dr. Borg and her allies observed Arsha showing the back of her palm. “Dr. Borg, if you’re watching this, then go ahead and enhance the image on the back of my hand. You will find my signature scarred into it. We all signed a Blood Contract, declaring that you WILL be destroyed! Oyed, you most likely assumed that your children wouldn’t be involved. …That will be a fatal mistake for you!” The broadcast then ended.
“My children aren’t going to sit this one out?!” growled Oyed. “They would dare get their hands dirty?! They’ll upend everything! We need to get started!”
“Rochak,” called Dr. Borg, “I want our soldiers armed and ready to march by week’s end.”
“But, Doctor,” protested Rochak, “there are too many! They can’t all be armed in time; we don’t have the means!”
“Build more dams,” ordered Dr. Borg, “block all the streams, work the forges night and day!”
“We don’t have enough fuel to feed the fires!”
“Doesn’t this stronghold rest at the edge of a jungle?”
“…At once.” Rochak then took off to carry out his orders.
“If you will excuse me,” rumbled Oyed, “I must see to my own weapons.” He vanished in a cloud of smoke, leaving only Dr. Borg and her spouses. They all looked at each other, then grinned.
“Oh, when the stars align!” purred Dr. Borg.