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My fingers trace idly over the writing on the page before me. I know it's important; I know it requires my immediate attention, but it will have to wait. I need a break from the heavy matters of leadership.
I still my hands and look at them. There are days I still can't believe the power they hold. Within them I hold the fate of a kingdom. The power of life and death. The power to make war or to forge peace. The power to crush my enemies and to hold that which is mine. In all my wildest dreams, I never thought my future would hold all this.
I'm not a born leader; at least, I have never believed myself so. But others believed it, and they did their best to convince me. There are still days when I don't buy it, days when I believe it's only a dream. Or a nightmare. I'm not a born leader. I'm a created one.
Hands other than mine carefully molded me. Crafted me to rule a kingdom of five worlds. They took the best of what is in me and nurtured it, until they had the leader they wanted. And then they sat back to wait.
I look away from my hands and rest my head against the back of my chair. Whether I'm the leader they desired I've never been sure. Did I turn out the way they wanted? Are they satisfied, or do they regret the devil's bargain they made? It's too late now to worry about it. What you see is what you get.
Was it worth it? It's a question I ask myself repeatedly. I don't know. Does the good outweigh the bad? The highs, the lows? When I look back on it all, will it be worth the cost?
Before I became a ruler, I knew love. It was a love to last a lifetime, or so I thought. She was everything I ever wanted, since the first time I saw her. I watched her from afar, never believing that she would ever, could ever, be mine. I was unworthy of her; I knew that, but it didn't stop me from dreaming. Until one day one day, she saw *me.* Really saw me. Everything I was, everything I hoped to be. And she loved me for it. And that changed everything. For both of us.
As I remember her, I smile, just a little, something I rarely do nowadays. I still can't believe I won her heart. Our love was a secret love, dangerous for both of us if it came to light. We were worlds apart. Hers was the world of the status quo, a world that feared my kind. Mine was a world of secrets, secrets that could put her in danger.
In loving me, she rejected everything she had believed. In loving me, she risked her life to help me. In loving me, she was constantly in danger. Under those circumstances, no love could remain secret for long.
We were hunted by those who feared us, feared what we might do to their little world. We tried to make it work, but there was a new problem at every turn. Events escalated. And suddenly, before I realized what was happening, it ended in betrayal. I was powerless to stop it.
There was no way to undo it. I have to live with the consequences of her actions. I closed myself off from everyone and threw myself into learning more about the road to power. It's a lonely road, and an unforgiving one. I learned quickly; you don't make the same mistake twice. Now I travel that road alone, at the head of a carefully controlled group of supporters. It's the only way.
There's a knock on the door and I know that I can no longer avoid my responsibilities. I push myself from my desk and grab the papers I'd ignored. Duty calls. Was the price too high? I refuse to answer my question. It's been paid, and I can't turn my back on what it purchased.
I push my door open and wait for the problems of the day. It doesn't take long.
"I hate to bother you, my lord Khivar, but ."
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