|"The Last Kingdom" King Alfred|
A follow up to the Assling's experience in the Underworld.
Shevata sat at her desk waiting for the King to arrive. She’d met him before and he, like so many in the afterlife, return to her to seek more wisdom. How, she thought, can any sort of wisdom be found in Hell?
The demon opened the door in her comfortable office. She motioned for Alred to sit across from her and the demon to leave. “King Alfred, I’m beginning to think you like visiting the Underworld, the place for the damned. This is your second tour here. As an man of such intelligence and devotion to his God, why come here?”
Alred nodded with respect. “I thank you for receiving me again. I found out that Uhtred came here and I wanted to know if he is safe.”
Shevata smiled and a gentle eye roll. “No one is safer than they are here.”
Afred frowned. “So is he here? Has his soul been thrown away? Why would he do such a thing?”
“You always said he was the pagan.”
He stood, slamming the chair into the desk and paced around the room. “You should’ve sent him back.” He turned to her. “Send him back!”
Shevata raised an eyebrow. “Why would I do that?”
“He had a soul, but was misguided, like all of the Danes. I know that now. No one deserves the punishment this place provides.” He had his back to her. Shevata rose and walked up behind him.
“You have more conscience than most Kings I’ve met.” She placed a clear, rainbow-reflecting gem in his palm. “Hell is a receiving world. We don’t choose the inhabitants; they choose us. Go now. Your legacy as a great King is now resounding through history in your world. There’s no need for you to concern yourself with Uutred. He examined the gem.
“You let him go, didn’t you?”
“He chose the flames with his Danish woman. Now go, before I have you dragged out. When you return, tell me in advance so I can learn more about your God.”
He smiled. “I’d like that.” She nodded as he was escorted away.
Zermon walked in watching him leave. “What’s that wormy-looking King doing here again? Wanting a piece of Hell, eh?”
“I told him Uhred the Assling and Iseult are in our flames.”
He shook his head. “What’s with your memory? That little brunette queen works for me as a succubus, and she is one of the best, I tell you. No man has yet to resist her. And you told Assling you didn’t know her. Then you told the skinny King we burned Assling’s soul.” He snorted. You’re a disgusting liar, little one. Why lie here? Hell is truth.”
Shevata sat back in her chair kicking Zermon’s elbow off of her desk. “Yes, Hell is truth, usually a very ugly one when one pays for their life’s crimes by losing their souls to the fires here. But what’s the use of truth here? The people that come here face the truth, as Iseult did when she used magic to kill a child to save another. In her hypocrisy about giving in to fate, she did a great evil. How can Uhtred know that? We might as well throw him to our fires if he knew the truth, as it would drive him mad.”
“And the skinny King the great whatever? Why lie to him? How do you know he won’t meet Uhtred somewhere in the heavens, if that exists?”
“If they meet, they will know I lied. They will think I fooled them and never return. And should they never meet, King Alfred will continue his efforts to save others from whatever “pagan” means. Lies are important, Zermon. People never forget the truth, even when it’s a lie.