Afriti was very proud of herself. She had done what Morgana had been too afraid to do: she took the rumblings of their uprising beyond simple rumor and pushed the king, the entire pride, into action. War was upon them now, and there was more to come. The pride would be torn apart from the inside out, and they would all kill one another, which would make for some fantastic viewing for the Goddess of Villainy. And whatever was left would become hers. From those ashes, she would raise a hateful, vengeful little rabble of followers, who would carry on her bidding among the mortals.

Minions were always welcome, in her book. She would take the Druids and make them into something feared and fantastical. They would be living legends, led by an immortal one. It would be something of a dream.

Or a nightmare, she supposed, for most. That was, however, fitting as well. After all, her new acquaintance, of ever growing interest to her, was the God of Nightmares. Maybe she was trying to pay him a little tribute in all this. She knew, after all, that her attack on the royal family of the Tokakinji must have left the King with a few nightmares of his own.

They would only continue from here.

“Afriti! What have you been doing?! I’m being blamed for murdering the Queen! My own mother?! What have you done, you wicked traitor!” Morgana’s voice boomed out, padding toward her. Afriti smirked, flicking her tail behind her and watching the other approach. She shook her head slowly, languidly, offering her a very casual shrug considering the accusations being thrown around. Her anger was understandable, after all. She had just lost a parent. How sad for her, but it was for a greater purpose. One that Morgana herself had not yet realized, despite her anger and need for revenge.

“I did what you were meant to, Morgana. You were dragging your paws here. You could have gotten things rolling, as we talked about, as you dreamed, ages ago, but you were scared to take the next step.”

“I was gathering our numbers! Making sure we had the support we need for a proper uprising against the throne! This war you’ve brought on us? This isolation from the pride? This is not what we wanted! And you killed my mother in my name! Who will believe me if I argue this? I have to accept what you’ve done and take the blame for it! Because of you, I have sentenced my followers to death at the hands of the Toka! You do not know the King and his rage like I do! How dare you!”

Morgana was furious, but her anger just made Afriti laugh. Shaking her head, bone necklaces jingling as she did so, the Goddess flexed her wings in what amounted as an even more nonchalant and dismissive shrug than before. She clearly did not care one small bit about the anger the Druid leader had toward her. This was what needed to happen, to make things interesting.

Anyway, Morgana was just one more meaningless pawn. Though she thought herself important to all of this, she was nothing at all. It was Afriti that was in charge, and Afriti that would emerge ruler at the end of all this. What did she have to worry about the problems of mortals? Let them fight one another and die in the process. She would remain, after all of it. Her only real concern was the God that lived among the Toka, the God of Chivalry. He would stand up for them, she was sure, but with Baku by her side, she would be able to take him down when the time came.

For now, she could relax, and enjoy the turmoil she had created.

“Mortal fool,” she said, looking at Morgana with a vicious, snarling grin, “you are pathetic, and have no true vision of grandeur. Fight for you home, this is your chance! Take what is yours, and bring your family, you blood, back to that mountain! That castle should be yours, and rule of this land should belong to the Druids. Take my actions as a gift: use them for your own betterment. This is what you are meant for, Morgana.” She was lying through her teeth, but the angry Druid was listening, and she nodded her head despite her fury.

“Do not do anything without my permission again,” Morgana growled lowly, and Afriti laughed, spreading her wings and beating them, lifting her body off the ground and taking to the sky, flying over the lands of the Uliacha province, roaring and booming her voice over the ravine prison, that was now the home of most Druids, and the nearby dens.

“Wake, wake, Druids! War is upon us all, and now is our time to rise! Draw the blood of the Toka, and rend the flesh of all those you see! This is our home, our right! Destroy those that would destroy you! War, war, my lovely little Druids! To war!!!”

Morgana watched as the goddess flew away, hearing her battle cry and letting the words sink into her, making her shudder in fear and anticipation at once. She supposed the Goddess had a point, in her twisted and devious way. This was what they had been building toward, even if it had not happened the way Morgana had wanted. Maybe she had been cowardly, hesitating to continue her plan because she could not see them truly advancing so far. What came now? War, real and true: they would fight, they would die. But she believed that they would be triumphant. The King and his rage was not enough to trump the anger of an entire group of creatures, united under one banner. His followers would not believe as strongly as the Druids: they did not understand this war as deeply as the Druids themselves did. The Toka were pathetic, and their complacency and blindness to the world around them would be their downfall. This was where the Druids would rise, and take their stand against the King, and against the Toka.

This land would be theirs.