My fingers are beginning to strain against the bowstring.
Less than a minute and I am feeling weakness seeping into my hand, my forearm, my shoulder. In my youth this would have been virtually effortless. The arrow, notched and eager to fly, would stare upon its target with motionless focus. My limbs would hold fast, as still as marble while I sought the perfect moment to loose. But those days are gone now; fled from me as has the color from my hair…and the light from my world.
His Majesty was the closest friend I had ever had. We fought alongside each other in the Glacier Wars, and led soldiers of our own in the Siege of the Woodlands. He bestowed his blessing upon the marriage between myself and his only sister. As we left our youth in the historical records, I advised his rule of the land with care and conviction. I taught my four sons to learn their skills from me, but learn their principles from their King. Their Godfather.
When that same King drafted all my heirs into his army, to fight a campaign that could never succeed, I felt 40 years of brotherhood tear away from my soul like a moth-eaten sleeve from an old, old garment. It was the moment I realized that the King deserved no loyalty, no sacrifice, and no breath. When I spoke to the Priest of my dark intentions he reminded me that God is the only one who plucks the life from his people, not the people themselves. I told him of my sons, and of how His Majesty stole them from their destinies. The Priest wept the bitter tears that had since run dry in me.
So here I sit, atop the parapet overlooking the Royal Dais. My old, gnarled fingers want nothing more than to release the last arrow my bow will ever sling. But I cannot loose this arrow and send it on its flight into the skull of the King. The skull of the King rolls across the stone floor, painting a stark crimson curve…around the feet of the Priest, his blood-stained axe still gripped tightly in his fists.