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Story Mercy

zippy

drmr boy
Written for Writing Buddies discord server.
Prompt: Write about a Reunion between two people that used to be very close but, haven't seen each other for a long time
Word Count: 1211


The basin was filled to the brim with cool water. It functioned as a mirror today, and the young king leaned over to check his appearance briefly. All the blood had been drained from his face as if sucked out by an overzealous vampire. Both his cheeks and his eyes were sunken in, the slightest shadow resulting in an almost skeletal reflection. He looked frail. The realization caused a slight frown to tug at his lips, blue eyes flashing with contempt at himself. This was no time to appear weak. A careful hand reached up to push his hair back from his forehead.

“Your Highness, they are ready for you.”

The sudden voice caused him to jump, hitting his knee on the basin and nearly turning the washroom into a mess. A hum of annoyance escaped him. Despite his constant chiding, the servants still failed to understand knocking.

“Yes, yes, I know this. Now please leave,” he said through clenched teeth.

As soon as the door closed, the man peered down at his reflection again. This time, he swore quietly at his disheveled appearance before finally beginning to get ready.
He emerged from the washroom in his sweeping floor-length robe. The royal blue, he thought, looked good on him. Though it swallowed him, it made him appear larger than life. Powerful. Strong. The crown sat precariously atop his head added to this air as well. Large jewels caught the light with every movement, and the crown itself added an additional five inches to the man’s already considerable height. He didn’t always wear the full attire, only bothering when he needed to make a point. His father, King Isenbardus, was well-loved in the Kingdom of Valeskon. However, it was no secret that as the middle child, Damascus was a bit of a black sheep in the family.

He was never supposed to be king.

Isenbardus was similar to Damascus in that always wanted to appear as strong as possible. Though it was easier for the more experienced man. In his late fifties, Damascus had been king for thirty-four years before he succumbed to an unknown illness. An illness that no one knew about until it was too late. He wasn’t even there by his father’s side when he passed, the two having never gotten along. His older brother Tomkin took care of that, and as expected the dying king passed on the crown to the more responsible son. Damascus couldn’t even remember what he’d been doing at that moment, likely in a brothel or some other unsavory activities.

When Tomkin became king, a small faction decided that was the perfect time to express their disproval of the way their family lead the kingdom. According to them, they needed more autonomy. More room to spread their wings and not be under the “oppress” hand of the leadership. Of course, Tomkin took great offense to the disrespect and sought out their leader with the hopes of crushing to the opposition. His cockiness got the best of him, and he entered the Eastern territory unprepared and unprotected. The assassination was swift, and news about the conspiracy spread all throughout the kingdom. Civil unrest became much more common, and Damascus was crowned king and tasked with restoring order.

Four years had passed in between now and the death of his father and two since the death of his brother. With the help of an informant, the young man patiently and efficiently stifled the rise of what he named the Red Rebellion. The remaining few of the operation had been forced underground, with Damascus making an example out of anyone his court brought in front of him. Today was one of those days, and he gripped the royal staff tight as he made his way down the grand staircase into the main hold of the room.

Each step echoed as his feet marched him across the harsh marble floor. Despite the large room that he used for these “demonstrations”, it always seemed to be filled to max capacity. The morbid curiosity of human beings brought them here each time, though the end result was always the same. Hushed chatter made his ear buzz, and there was an air of excitement around the crowd. It helped him to know that he was doing the right thing.

Finally, he sat upon the throne, back rigid as he surveyed his audience with the slightest interest. It took only a wave of his hand for them to all quiet down, and once the restless crowd had calmed a Duke stepped forward.

“It seems that we discovered another member of the Resistance, Your Highness.”

These words were the signal that his guards always waited for. A large commotion captured the attention of everyone in the room as 3 large men wrestled a smaller one to center stage. They dropped him at the foot of the throne, and he was quick to scramble up to his full but meager height. His clothes were torn and bloodied, evidence of the horrendous torture he must have suffered. Initially, Damascus was against those means, but as time went on, he grew less and less patient with those who undermined his leadership. Now he was quite the advocate of using “whatever means necessary” to find out information.

“Lark, please. Have mercy,” came the wavering voice.

The use of his childhood nickname shocked him, and he gazed more curiously at the pathetic figure before him. The dirty blonde locks and fragile figure weren’t easily recognized by him, but the traitor’s facial features were hidden by the man looking down.

“Look at your king,” Damascus said softly.

The blonde shivered ever-so-slightly, but other than that there was no movement. Half a minute passed before the king asked again.

“Look at me!” he shouted, causing several gasps from the audience at the sudden outburst.

With a whimper, the man looked up and Damascus paled at the realization. The traitor was Bertram. Not simply someone that he used to know, but his absolute best friend up until 4 years ago. Though the Bertram of his childhood was quite different than the young man who quivered before him now. Apparently, since they’d last met he lost a considerable amount of weight, evidenced by the disappearance of plump, rosy cheeks Damascus used to playfully pinch. The king reached forward to cradle his friend’s chin in his hands.

Damascus released the man as quickly as he grabbed him, springing to his feet and interlocking his fingers. He nodded at the guards, signaling at them to move back. He towered over his old friend, making him seem even more pathetic than he already looked.

“Kneel,” he said coldly.

Any compassion that had been brought to the surface due to nostalgia vanished. Being betrayed by strangers was one thing but being betrayed by a friend was unacceptable. Bertram didn’t kneel immediately, but at the sound of Damascus unsheathing his sword he was quick to crumble.

“P-Please,” he begged, “you don’t need to do this.”

“Oh, but I do.”

A clean swing of his sword was all it took, and two distinct thuds were heard clear as day. He sheathed the now bloody sword before stepping over the limp body of Bertram and exiting exactly as he’d entered.
 
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