You are god; you are emperor.

Your word is law and life.

And yet you think, at times, that this existence is punishment you do not deserve.

You are a child, you think. You are young. You have not yet lived for so long that wisdom has yet to come to you.

And yet he says - they all say - that you are worthy of the throne. You are king. You are god.

You wish to contradict them - to say that you are not, you are not - and yet you don't.

Your word is law, and law dictates that you should be wise.

You see her, and your face splits into an expression that feels as foreign as it is wonderful.

She is balancing delicate cups on her shoulders, and she is so careful in her actions, graceful and young and-


The general's sister, you are told.

Your wife-to-be, you are told.

You catch her eye, and she pauses, cups hanging precariously on her person. She looks at you and sees your smile and then she falters.

The cups fall and break; she looks so embarrassed you can't help but laugh.

And at that moment, you pray-

-that your life with her will be full of it.

There are many things you have yet to do.

In all the earthly ways you are king, and yet time is one thing you not in abundance of.

You have known all your life that your desires should not come first. The health of your land is your happiness. Its wealth, your pleasure.

And yet you can't help the joy inside you when you catch glimpses of her, fleeting as they may be.

You are heavy, you tell her.

And yet her presence makes you feel light, inside.

It is night, you think. Your duties are done. You are a husband, and she - your wife.

And so you reach for her, and she comes to you in grace, in beauty.

She is so soft. Warm.

And you think that if she is death, then still, willingly, you will come to her.

You send her trinkets in both gold and precious stone.

Sorry, you tell her silently with each one.

I'm sorry I cannot spend more time with you, my love.

Soon I will come to you.

You fool yourself into thinking she accepts your sentiments without question.

It is her duty, as queen.

I love you.

She waves at you, and, keen as your eyes are, you see that on her finger-

-is the ring you have given her last.

She smiles and you respond in kind, and your heart is so full it is close to bursting.

This is love, is it not?

She is so soft. Warm.

And welcoming as you draw her into your arms.

You are god; you are emperor.

Your word is law and life.

No other man shall be loved as you are.

No one.

Will you live as my woman? Or as the traitor's sister?

The woman who loves you... is the traitor's sister.

Her words seal her fate, and you will not falter.

You can not.

An emperor-

You see it in your mind's eye - the arrow that had pierced her heart.

The ground wet and bright with her life's blood.

And you left her to die like a common criminal. Your beloved queen - a traitor to the king.

You lie each night, reliving her death - your last memory of her life.

You lie each night knowing that she had chosen her brother over you. Your queen - who did not love you as you have loved her.

Her words had sealed her fate.

But it was your decree that had her killed.

Years pass, and still her memory haunts you.

Soon you cease wanting for anything. Your land and people can wither and die for all you care. It's a selfish, cruel thing, because sometimes you can indulge in something selfish and cruel. You are king. Who are they to say that you are wrong?

You can feel the days drag on, and yet she hasn't come - your death.

And so you draw her likeness in the hopes of summoning her, even if each stroke feels like an arrow through your gut.

I love you, you tell her.

I'm sorry.

Her eyes stare straight ahead, but in your mind's eye you can see her - graceful and young and beautiful.

I love you.

I'm sorry.

I thought it will be better if we meet halfway.

You drink the concoction even as you know what is in it.

You are god; you are emperor.

Your word is law and life.

You are king; you are wise.

And so you know that this death is punishment for the wrongs you have done, in this life.