Before I was born the prince died. Before I was born I spoke to him. He wept and pleaded for his life but I couldn’t save him. My mama gave birth to me in the rotting ghettos as the city burned. My mama put me in a basket and set me in the swift river which happily took me away. My real mama is dead, but I can call the queen mother, if that will make her smile. The prince was right. She isn’t very pretty when she’s crying and she spends a lot of time crying. Before I was born the prince died, now I have his name, his life, and his loved ones. I wonder if he hates me. I’d hate me if I were him. Before I was born the prince died, and when he cried out to me I ended his pain. When the prince died I didn’t feel anything, and I don’t feel anything now, even mother cries. Before I was born the prince died, but it was the king that should’ve set me free from my prison in the heavens. I am sorry that I took the boy but I needed to be here.

~~**~~

I’m the last guard on the Great North Road, standing watch over the rocky lane and the dead just beyond. Not twenty years ago my father sat upon his own throne but then betrayed by his dearest friend he died. The day my father died I called out to the gods above and I begged them to torture him like he tortured my father; years later his son was born, only to die at age nine. It made me wonder, but I never had a brother, not that mother ever told me. A few months after that a new boy was born, given the dead prince’s name and I guarded the Great North Road as he grew and grew into an oddity. Finally though, the king died, fell down some stairs and bashed his head in. Just like father. I may have killed the king but I’m just a lowly guard hundreds of miles away guarding the road and the dead just beyond.

~~**~~

That boy, that little beast brought forth by wife as though to spit me! That little bastard, I’m sure the gods are delighting in this. His pranks, his smile all of it like, like that damned man! First my son dies and now I have this little tormentor in my castle and I can’t move against him because he is my own flesh and blood, my only heir! I swear to the gods the boy is the spitting image of King Martin the Wise come back to torture me with his jokes and weird insider knowledge. I’ve order that bitch to keep him away from me. I have half a mind to dredge up her travel records and see if she went anywhere near that fucking keep. Does she hate me so that she had to bed my enemy’s son and bring forth a demon! I can hear him laughing all around me as I walk, everywhere I go there is his voice, his laugh, his footsteps! I hate that little monster! How did he get into my wing? I ordered everyone to keep him out! Never mind, just ignore the bastard and he’ll leave soon enough. Damn these stairs, I swear they get narrow by the day.

~~**~~

My boy, my baby boy stolen away from me… Gods kill me I can’t take this grief! Please… You should have let this castle be consumed by the flames that lapped at my city. My great city, I weep for you as well. And my king will join those of the past at sunset. All that is left to me is my son, my baby boy. My little Martin. Please even if you must end me, keep him safe, let him see the oldest ages, let him have many heirs, with many grandchildren, and many, many more after that. I beg of you.

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