The Sword and the Sceptre

He closes his eyes, and groans.

He finds that it is more heart-wrenching than the sounds of wailing and mourning, because it is the sound one makes when one has exhausted the sounds of wailing and mourning. In this way, it is rarely heard, but because of this reason, others aren’t able to ignore him.

He closes his eyes, and sees.

He sees a dark sky, laden with lightning. But the air is silent around him, and he takes a closer look.

He sees a sharpened sword, drawn and singing through the air. It is polished until it no longer absorbs any light, and becomes the source of the lightning.

It is a sword that carves ruins out of buildings, from the grandest of palaces to the humblest shanty. It is a sword that carves corpses out of people, from the richest of kings to the most mediocre commoner. It is a sword that melts hearts and nations, and the only thing that can stop it is a sceptre.

He closes his eyes, and he sees a borrowed sceptre. Its metal plating is almost all gone, and it has lost its place by the king’s side a long time ago. It is gradually becoming a stick waiting to be broken or thrown into the fire, just so it wouldn’t have to face the sword.

As the sole audience, he claps. In place of thunder, he claps instead: once, twice, and three times for every lightning flash he sees, and never in his entire life has he felt so alone.

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