03 May

The gentle rapping of my calloused fingertips on the cold armrest of the throne echoed throughout the large, empty hall of the throne room. As I stared down at the smooth crystalline ice below me from my perch, I pondered the infuriating situation I now found myself in. 

My right hand had disappeared, a man I had put much trust in. Too much trust. Rebellion had broken out in pockets along the entire continent. Some of my most powerful men murdered and word had not reached me until much too late. Newly conquered colonies fallen to disarray… the list goes on and on. 

My kingdom was becoming stretched far too thin, loyalties worn down and tension never higher. The day of us being the dominating empire seemed to be drawing to a close.

Had I gone too soft? Surely, the goddess had chosen this path for me for a reason. I was the one who would bring all the lands together. Yet so close to achieving my goal, it was slipping out of my grasp…

I clenched my fist. 

Control. I needed to regain it.

Some aides touched down on the balcony just behind the pristine pillars of ice that separated me from outside. My expression dropped. How much more bad news I could possibly receive? 

"Sire!" They shouted as they walked in to face me. Both dropped to one knee synchronously.

"Report," I said coldly.

"T-th-the port capital, Rao, has had three rebels escape. Two of which being the fire and water duo held captive in Tokar’s prison. The two you've been searching for."

I actually laughed out loud. The aides laughing awkwardly along with me as they shook in terror.

That made me laugh even more.

Tokar… How positively incompetent of him.

I commanded the two to leave. I needed time to think. 

Clearly, both that right hand and that duo need to be dealt with. Perhaps I could knock out two birds with one stone if I just travel down there and find them myself. Consider it a show of strength.

I glided down from my throne to the ground and walked out through the large entrance, where my aides were waiting. The sharp chill of mountain air blew about us, but I no longer felt its touch of cold. I hadn’t for some time.

“I've made my decision, this new situation and previous news of my right hand requires divine intervention. I will go down to the lower parts of our planet and deal with the insurgents first hand," I said with finality.

"Y-yes sire! Good decision sire!" The aides chirped back in unison.

Satisfied, I started walking towards the launching platform; a part of the balcony that had no railing. 

"Sire? Aren't you going to pack a bag?"

"Oh, needn't worry. I'll be back before the next sun rises. Packing will not be necessary." I shouted over the wind.

"Of course, sire! Of course!" The aide replied.

I stopped just shy of the edge, the cliff continuing down steeply and turning into sharp, jagged spires of snow covered rock. I could see the entire mountain range from here and beyond, all the way out towards the arid terracotta canyons and to lake Ancora, who’s vastness seemed to span the entire horizon.

Without a second thought, I jumped off the edge. I let my dark wings out in all their glory, catching the updrafts and gliding ever southbound. 

There was one thing I’d been taught time and time again, all through my life. The only person capable of achieving this dream is me. And I cannot let it slip out of my grasp. 

If things were ever to get back in order, it would be by my will alone.  

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