A Lost Episode

by Cooper Young

I have another story for you guys, and this one isn’t an entry into any writing challenge.  It was originally intended to be, but…well, my usual excuses.  Time, workload, hand pain, perfectionism.  Anyway, I’ve been waiting for the proper time to bring it out, and as it follows last week’s post so well (it’s something of a sequel, really) it would appear that now is that time.

Pretender to the Crown

 “Etalz. Etalz!”

“What?”

“What the hell happened?”

“With what?”

“Walk with me. The…you know. The plan.”

“What do you mean ‘what happened’? Is she…?”

“Yes. No. Whichever one means you fucked up. She’s alive.”

“Wholly?”

“Barely.”

“Does she know it was us?”

“She’s half mad; she doesn’t know who we are. Did you even do it?”

“Of course I did it; you were there! What do you think I’m…”

“You were hesitant. You could have…”

“I had my compunctions, yes, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t understand what had to be done. Maybe I was afraid of what will happen to us once she’s dead; Vulrassa couldn’t trust us, Nazarel can’t trust us; how the hell are we supposed to trust each other? The crown splits seven ways no better than it splits eight.”

“We’re brothers. It’s different.”

“And she’s our sister!”

“Half sister!”

“By the one parent we all connected to! None of us really knew mother; he didn’t let us. If Nazarel was her daughter by another man, maybe I would understand your hatred of her. She’s not, though. She’s the child of the Knight Theras, just like you and me and the others.”

“You can’t know that.”

“Father had no reason to doubt it.”

“He was a fool” Anyone could see…”

“Do you listen to yourself? My gods, did you kill him too?”

“I haven’t killed anyone, not anyone human anyway, no one but that creature; never forget that! You, on the other hand…”

“You only got a pass because the queen got sick of us trying to kill her and did it herself! Don’t pretend– we all know you didn’t have a thing to do with it. You backed out and she committed suicide; we all let you pretend you had a hand in it to make you feel like a man. Well, do you? Do you? Because if you do; if for one single instant you feel good for standing up for your ’cause’, you don’t have the least clue how it actually feels to be part of this. I don’t feel good about this. I actually tried to kill someone- a sixteen year old innocent- and I do not feel like a man for having done it. How do you feel, pretending?”

“I am more of a man than you’ll ever be!”

“Then I wish to the gods I had just pretended.”


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