Duty of the Sovereign

“Bring forth Cazumel.” My father’s voice rang forth, a thunderclap in the vaccuum of silence that was the throne room.

Two of our Imperial guards, splendidly attired in the traditional purple, brought forth an ancient little man. He was perhaps eighty years old. His back was bent and his chest-length beard was silver and grey. Wrist and ankle irons clanked as he moved slowly forward.

I was so fascinated by his age that I didn’t notice the color of his robes.

They were red.

Horrified, I turned to my dear, sweet father who I’d always loved but never understood. He saw the look on my face and he merely nodded, the tragedy of power reflected back at me in his eyes.

I hesitated.

“It is the duty of the sovereign. This is what you were born to do.” My father explained quietly. I could hear the rueful smile in his voice. And I knew he was right.

My father reached into his robe and pulled out the Dagger of the Gods. He handed it to me. My mother stared without seeing.

Then there was hot blood.

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