The Queen of Canturbean was very verbose. That is to say… she could be quite magniloquent. Or.. well.. she knew a lot of big words. Words were her power. Soldiers carried swords, merchants carried money, but the Queen armed herself to the teeth with the vernacular. When she spoke, people had the tendency to obey. She could make someone obey with but a whim, but she preferred to do it by persuasion if she could. And most often, she could.
While the King of Lothramire sent his loyal servants to seek out new lands and riches for him, the Queen dispatched squires to gather languages. She was already fluent in six, and a seventh by sight and pen only (she’d never met anyone who could speak it to hear it properly done) but still wanted more.
While the Sultan of Gorgarim invited engineers from ’round the world to improve his structures and lands, she summoned scholars and linguists. Engineers merely helped her to expand the library and decide the most efficient use of space so that it would hold the most books, scrolls, and tablets possible.
While the Princess of Rofhan constructed great walls to keep out the northern invaders, milady built schools and libraries so that all her people may be educated and learn the power of words. The rulers of the land thought her foolish, but she remained confident.
You have no standing army! they mocked.
You have no cache of weapons! they teased.
Should we ever want your land, we could take it and divide it as we please!
And as words have power, once they said this they began to make plans to realize it. The seeds of war had been sewn by their very own lips, though they did not have the wisdom to recognize it.
When the great armies began to march into her land, the Queen of Canturbean sent out her people. Farmers and children and merchants alike, she sent them. “Stop!” shouted the kinsmen of Canturbean. And the invading armies, for reasons they could not explain, came to a halt.
Then she sent her scholars to the land of Lothramire and to the King they said, “Perseus Ramadus McManahan, King of Lothramire, please halt your crusade. Your treasury is bare, your country is poor, and we do not wish to see your great land fade.”
The king, of course, laughed. He was the richest in the land! To prove it to these scholarly men and women, he took them to the treasury vaults himself. The great metal doors were heaved open, giant bolts were drawn back, and the treasury was revealed.
“You underestimate the power of words,” they said; and left the king gaping at dusty brick walls as they journeyed to the land of Gorgarim.
The structures of this land towered above the scholars, mighty giants against the bright blue sky. They entered a wondrous palace adorned with statues so similar to real life, one scholar almost asked it for direction. When they reached him, the sultan sat on a throne of gold in a room with painted ceilings and pillars thrice the height of any tree they’d seen.
“Theodore Raftani, O Pearl of the Sand, Sultan of Gorgarim, please hear us,” they pleaded. “Halt your crusade. Your cities are crumbling, your structures are buckling, and we do not wish to see your great land fade.”
The sultan, like the king, laughed. He had made great investments, after all – the best materials money could buy and the best minds from across the kingdom had constructed his cities. But even as he began to pontificate this point, a sturdy pillar of marble that supported a beam in his throne room crumbled to dust.
Reports rolled in of similar occurrences from across the kingdom.
“You underestimate the power of words,” they said and left the sultan to plan for his cities’ repairs.
Next was the Princess of Rofhan, who rested comfortably behind her great protective walls. A horseman was sent to the gates to hear what the scholars had to say. He had heard rumors of the troubles in Lothramire and Gorgarim and his nervousness showed on his face. “Speak,” he said, as brave as he could muster, when the scholars reached the wall.
“We appeal to Aurora Magenta, Princess of Rofhan, to please halt her crusade against Canturbean. Her walls are not as sturdy as she imagines, they hold weakness and could easily be washed away by the tears of the sky – we do not wish to see this great land fade. If she does not heed our plea, she underestimates the power of words.”
The message was carried to the Princess, who thought it absurd. When had rain ever washed away a wall of stone and mortar? What a fool, that Queen.
But come the next spring shower, the walls that surrounded Rofhan slowly melted and gave way under each little drop. By mid-afternoon, the wall was only high enough to keep out a mouse – though even a mouse could climb.
Soon the court of the Queen was filled with the rulers of the land. All had come to plead with this witch of a monarch to restore their lands, admit their folly and formally withdraw their troops with the greatest heap of apology they could manage.
The Queen heard them all. Then she rose and she spoke, “Perseus Ramadus McManahan, King of Lothramire, Theodore Raftani, Sultan of Gorgarim, Aurora Magenta, Princess of Rofhan – kneel; and may there never be quarrel between our lands again.”
For although the Queen knew words aplenty and could speak them again in more languages than most had fingers, she was wise enough to know their power; and to use only what was necessary.