The Man Who Would Be King

A boy's abition to become a greater king than his father. Will it remain ambition, or seep into the realms of obsession? With him stopping at nothing to get his way?

I sit on the 'out' bench, watching my friends continue with their game. I'm always first out, in whatever they decide to play. I don't care though. I'm not like them. My petty friends and their stupid, nine-year-old games. I don't need them. I get up unnoticed and stalk away, back inside. I walk up to my room, again, ignored by the multiple servants and peasants I pass.  Stupid people, no doubt complaining to my father how the taxes are too high, or how the monsters we send after nightfall to ensure the curfew remains strong are ravaging their livestock. Stupid people. my father is too kind to them. He relinquishes  to their every whim. He's meant to be the King, for Sky's sake. When he is old and frail, I have decided that I'll... how shall I put it? Help him on his way. When his power is handed over to me, along with that silly little ring of copper that he calls a crown, I'll make certain that those little people know their place. They complain about monsters, I'll show them what they're truely capable of. They complain about taxes, I'll relieve them of every piece of gold they've ever laid their filthy little hands on.

I may only be 9 years old, but I know what my actions will be for the future. I will single-handedly create a utopia. And it will be better than my father's.

7 Years Later ~~

I sit next to my father, who is lying on his deathbed, my face blank. One hand is limply placed in his firm grip, the other is in my pocket, stroking the vial of poison I bought from a hag. Well, I didn't technically buy it; I payed for it, and then tested it on her. When my product worked, I retrieved my gold, knowing that she wouldn't need it, and it would undoubtedly fall into the hands of scavenging peasants, who would pay it back to me in taxes.My reasoning worked, and if anyone challenges me, I have three executioners at my disposal. After what seems like a lifetime, I finally feel the old man's hand go limp in mine. I have to surpress a half-smile as there's a page boy at the foot of the bed. I lower my head, wincing as I touch the dead man's hand, and wave the boy away. I hear the heavy door close behind him and lift my head gingerly. Seeing the room's empty, I wrench my hand out of the dead man's, and wipe it on the bed clothes. I smile openly now, and reach out to my father's head. My eyes close as I lift the circle of metal from him and place it on my head. The heavy metal pushes my long brown hair into my eyes, but I sweep it away, standing up as I do. Looking in the mirror to ensure I look presentable, yet slightly concerned about my father's death, to the people of Skagrion, who will surely be keenly gathered in the square, awaiting news of their recently deceased king, and they had better be grateful when they see me.

I check the mirror once more, drape my black velvet cloak around my shoulders, and stroll out through the doors before the body can start to smell.  I smirk as I recall the moment when I first knew I would be king. When my elder brother, unfortunately, passed away. Rumour has it, that he was pushed from the West Tower by a loyal servant. Well, loyal to me that is.  The people wept for a pathetically long time. You see, Emirad had always been very close to the citizens, in a way that I never had, not cared to be. He was loved by all, and I was only loved by my mother, but of course, her opinion no longer mattered now she was dead.  I had heard gossip when I went into the village, always with a hooded cloak and for business, you understand, that I was the recluse. A dark horse, if you will.  Of course, after hearing this, I slit the throat of the old woman to make certain these things weren't said about her future king.  I smirk again to myself as I remember Emirad's face as I had been kneeling beside his crumpled body, as he had told me that he hopes I make a great king, and as I had said that I hope so too, and his horrified expression as he realises that I had lured him towards the window of the West Tower and had someone to dispose of him for me. I almost felt sorry for him. He had never been particularly bright. Always unfalteringly trusting. An idiotic move for the first in line.

I approach the balcony, and wave dismissively for the page boy to go and announce me.  I halt next to the door, and hear the boy shout to the square, "People of Skagrion, the new King!" He bows low, and my people follow. I push open the door, chuckling silently to myself as I nearly hit the page, who scurries out of the way just in time.  I look out at the sea of bowing peasants, and when I tell them to rise, I hear a collective intake of breath. Idiots. What were they expecting? My dead brother to return and rule from beyond the grave? I raise my head high, ignoring the mutters and accusations, although, I don't deny their recriminations.  I imagine how I must look to them, standing in front of them, the tinny little crown upon my long brown hair, dressed in mourning robes of black for my father.  I must really look like their 'Dark Horse'.

The End

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