By Damien Knight
Napidő 4, Nyǻ Közep
I am Koraki Saros Kanosis, son of the Aldarian Emperor, Gori Baslias Kanosis and his wife, Kysa Ekte Kanosis. I was given away at birth, raised as a Spartan warrior and returned by time I came of age. People claim I am a proud man. I confess I have little to be proud of, arrogance is a mask to make up for the atrocities I committed in my father’s name. Ego simply covered the crippling self -esteem I bared due to war, but let’s leave that between us. Our secret if you will.
Milady woke me from the pit of despair I had been in since Elewyn’s demise. Initially Anika’s survival was simply my failing to kill her. It was not kindness; it was not love that drew me to protect her; it was greed and power. There was deep seeded evil in my heart. A heart she stole.
That first kiss was a lie. I remember well how close to death I stood as I begged her to heal me or shield me. Gori, I pleaded, must not find me. I kissed her, and I felt such strength in her magic. I lied and proclaimed that I had been watching her out of love. Silly girl, a man does not fall for a child. She was naïve, willing to believe the word of a monster, a murderer. Yet, I could feel her heart pounding in her chest, I laid close to death, and she cried for me. Suddenly I knew, I didn’t want to die; I didn’t want her to leave my corpse on the ground. I wanted us to be forever in that last embrace. I was a broken man.
Yes, I was broken; I wanted to be the villain. No, I was told I was a villain, and so I believed I was. My past had been full of tragedy and I became bitter. I committed acts of bitterness and believed them to be evil. My every waking moment was a nightmare and after merging with Anika she became my pleasant dream. My escape plan. She was a means to an end, nothing more.
I had loved once already, and that love was ripped from me. I loved Elewyn as no other man could love a woman. My heart was shattered by her death. After that kiss, that lie I perpetrated to take advantage of a young woman, I realized that she saw past my bitterness. It wasn’t right away. I was a monster, the demon of her nightmares. Yet I had also been her comfort, her guardian angel all those years. It wasn’t until that moment she knew the monster and the guardian were one and the same. I never harmed her, but she saw what I had done to her kind. I could never take that back.
I survived, and I fell in love with her grace and her wit. She fell in love with, I could not say for all I could see was darkness, bitterness. I believe even now as King in my father’s throne I am bitter. I could not be where I am if it wasn’t for her. She comforted my pain, during the war. She placed a hand on my shoulder and whispered that we would be OK. We would win.
She understood my pain, I never wanted Anika to suffer. I never meant to hurt her. We kissed, and this was real, not the empty lie I told before. All the pain melted on her lips, a distant memory of war and suffering. This would be the woman I would make my queen. She genuinely loved me.
Anika, led a charmed life though, sheltered she grew up safe. I did not share this good fortune. My life was war, I saw death at an age most children would not. As a teenager, I killed a man for the first time. She never left her village and never killed a man. She had seen death only once, but it was a distant memory. It felt cruel to strip her of this innocence to force her to train as the Dragon Council demanded.
I did the only thing I knew I could do. I took her to the dragon lair of the eternal Kyrazosanz and introduced her to my wife Elewyn. My beloved wife now a specter stuck on this plane of existence could impart on Anika wisdom. Anika took her hands and in a flash of light Elewyn vanished. After years being held by the spell my sword casted when she died, she was free. Anika now carried all Elewyn once was. The guilt consumes me. Anika stole my heart, and I stole her innocence.
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