Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

Glass goes green when it gets to a certain thickness. The impurities gang up. It’s a great insulator. It’s why my entire suit of armour is made of it.

I have grill slits and air-holes drilled into the faceplate. The armour weighs close to seven tons because of its thickness but it’s light when I’m riding the storm.

I have a long, lightning-rod ponytail of white filaments flowing back from my topknot jack. It traces my motion behind me, luring electrons.

Ferroconduits in my giant glass boots keep me afloat on charged air. I skate the clouds. A Tesla Hammer is strapped to my back with miles of thin copper wire wrapped tightly around it to act as an energy sponge. The large crest of my royal station is bolted to the glass on my chest.

It’s electroplated with gold that had criss-crossed the rest of my armour over time, creeping like rust, gilding the stress fractures of my own magnetosphere.

I’m standing in a bruise of storm clouds over Arlington for this state’s latest coronation. There’s a bead in my ear telling me that in exactly eight minutes the clouds need to pulse, spread, break windows with the force of their thunder, and strike the palace’s rooftop lightning field sixteen hundred times. This will fill the standing royal prophecy.

The prophecy dictates that a State Monarch has to be ratified by the heavens when he or she ascends to the throne. Lightning must strike the rod-fields on top of that state capital’s royal house at the culmination of the acceptance speech.

It must be fulfilled in every coronation ceremony in every state. I have six more to do this year in other states. It’s my job to bring the lightning. It was my father’s job before me.

I hang in the clouds like a dangling string puppet. The clouds are amber and I’m a fly. In a minute I’ll speed-skate down and surf back up to shape this bank into a terrifying ridge that will remind the party below me of the safety of caves.

I’ll make the cloud bristle with whorls. I’ll bring the lightning heartbeat deep within her to a crescendo before lashing out at the building below.

I spread my arms.


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