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The Six Months That Pass - ARTHUR

“Arthur it’s okay to feel scared. It really is.”

“That’s not what this is, I’m not scared, I’m traumatized. He… He looked at me, saw my soul and… and he spoke to me. May the Devil spare you all he said.”

“Devil? Who is Devil?”

“I don’t know.”

“So then, why are you afraid?”

“I don’t understand the question.”

“If you do not know who it is the messenger spoke to you of, then why are you afraid. Obviously, the name is not widespread enough, or even spread among the lowest of stable boys to matter to you. Going back to the council, doing your duty is what will help you now.”

“I can’t leave my home without sobbing, how am I to go back to the council? They already think me a fool, a child!”

“They do not, they worry for you. Matisse asks of you every day, wanting to make sure you are well.”

“But he does not visit me, two months and he does not visit. He stabs pride into my heart declaring my grand ability to not only assist the council, but to lead it. Yet he sits there not even giving so much as a glance to my seat in the back of the room, where he placed me! Then this happens. I am not loved by the scholars, and definitely not by the council. They had wished me gone long before I ever showed my face in the academy, and now they have gotten what they wish.”

“They have not Arthur, for even if that was true, the only person able to give them that would be you.”

“You don’t understand Cedany. You can’t.”

“Oh, I can’t. Let me tell you something my dearest brother. I’ve watched you for a long time, been a shoulder to cry on and a rug for you step on when you anger. I have seen all of it. From the happiest moments to moments like this. Yet I have never seen you quit. No matter how hard things get, you never quit. Yet here you are sobbing and weeping like a babe. And here I am as always, getting you to stand again. I am understanding to what happened to you Arthur. You were singled out. Exposed. King Marren made you make the choice and the death has hit you hard. It all makes sense to me I…”

“CEDANY!................... it’s not the death that bothers me…… It’s the creature. That thing that stood in that room, that looked to me. That turned out to be the King’s own brother. Heath was not reported missing, he was out there in Knavesmire doing his duty. Then he came back like… that. And now his men are missing and more is going wrong. The animals… gods be damned, the animals are dying and I fear for the children. I fear for the mothers, for my brothers, every life in this place, but I mostly fear for myself.”

“Go on.”

“I fear that there is something worse for me. That if everyone dies, everyone… then I will be left alive to face something darker. Something more painful and more… just more. I don’t wish that. I don’t wish that to happen.”

“Why would there be more for you?”

“Because I gave the order. I gave the… I gave the…. I… gave the….”

“You didn’t give the order Arthur.”

“I did I…”

“No, you only spoke of the facts laid before you by King Marren. You had no account of the situation till you arrived and arrived late. Then you were singled out, and he gave the order.”

“But I called it terrorism.”

“Did it not appear so?”

“It did.”

“Then what have you done wrong?”

“I… I don’t know.”

“You did nothing wrong. King Marren chose the punishment. King Marren had the punishment executed. And King Marren has to live with that death, for it is by his hand not yours. Heath, whether mad or not, was in no place to think clearly for himself. He made the choices he made to cause such an outcome. Wearing what he wore and acting how he did, anyone would have chosen the same thing. Terrorism. For it was exactly that.”

“Then… why do I feel this way?”

“You have never seen death, Arthur.”

“And you have.”

“Our father? You seem to have forgotten who was at his bedside? Who took the blade and…”

“Okay okay…. Please…. I remember now.”

“I don’t mean to do these things to you Arthur. You were always much softer than me and mother and father wished to protect you more. And if I could I would take your feelings and place them within myself just to ease the pain. I cannot though, so I do what I can which is to help you defeat them. Suppress them. Then… in time… they will fade.”

“And what if they return?”

“You do it correctly and nothing will be left to return.”

“I’m trying hard Cedany, I really am. I just… can’t get him out of my head. When my eyes close… I see him. I hear him in my dreams and he hunts me. Follows me in the dark streets and I run as fast as I can, I try to lose him with every sharp turn yet there he is… following faster and faster. I cannot escape him, and… and when he gets a hold of me I scream the loudest I can. But no one can hear me scream. No one can because there’s no one left, Windhelm is empty Cedany. It’s completely… totally… empty…”

Next Chapter: The Six Months That Pass - DELILAH