The Necklace

The gravel in the alley cut deep wounds in my feet, leaving bloodstained footprints in the settling dust. But I couldn’t stop now, not with the King himself behind me. I shouldn’t have stolen that da** sword. I thought angrily as I turned another corner, feet pounding the ground. I had left the King’s Blade back near the castle, the scene of my latest theft. It would have just weighed me down.

It was supposed to go just fine. I snuck in, took the sword, and left. Another crime against the totalitarian Empire. Any crime against the Empire was a victory for me. But the guards had been waiting, with the King himself. And so now, I was running once more. It felt like I was always running from something or someone. I’ll bet Garrett ratted me out. The boy I had been working with over the past month or so had always seemed a little weak to me. They had probably caught him and given him what every thief wanted- freedom- in exchange for information.

I, of course, was no different. Everything I did was against the Empire. The people didn’t need to live like animals while the King and his guards lived pampered lives. Ever since the Empire had taken over our little corner of the world, the last free civilization on the planet, we had been forced to slave away for the King. If it was considered too dirty for nobility (and everything was) we peasants had to do it. I, of course, refused. When I was young, my parents had been slaughtered in front of me (for not paying their taxes, of all things!) Ever since, I vowed to destroy the all-powerful Empire, and restore life to the people of my land.

That is, of course, if I didn’t die here.

Wrapped in my thoughts, I had slowed my pace. The sound of steel boots against the gravel behind me jarred me back to reality. I swore and grasped the necklace hanging from my throat. I slowly rubbed the bright sapphire, and quickened my pace. The safe house wasn’t far from here. I continued running, grunting with pain every time one of my bloody feet met the sharp stones covering the earth. I heard the yells of men fade away behind me as my quick feet carried me far ahead. I slid to a stop, grimacing with pain, and turned into an even smaller side alley. I stopped in front of a door, and flung it open, stepping into the small room and sighing with relief.

I shut it behind me, and turned to see none other than the King himself.

“Your friend made sure to tell us about this place.” He said quietly, judging me with deep brown eyes. There was no one else in the room.
“Where are your guards?” I spat angrily. He shrugged. “I’m not here to kill you. I want to talk.” I stared at him incredulously, my hand still resting on the hilt of my knife. I didn’t speak, so he continued. “Do you have a name?” He asked, raising a bushy eyebrow.
I shook my head. “My parents were killed before they could even give me a title.” I spoke slowly.
He sighed. “I’m sorry.”

I felt rage suddenly boil the blood in my veins. “Why? Why should you care about two PEASANTS!?!?! You were the one that had them EXECUTED!” I was screaming before I realized it.
The King lowered his head. There was a tense moment of silence, then he spoke quietly. “You think it’s easy running an Empire, boy?”
I sneered at him. “It’s easy when you just kill the ones you don’t like!”
He sighed again and looked at me. “I either kill the ones who make trouble… or this country collapses.” I narrowed my eyes at him, and absent-mindedly grabbed my necklace. He raised an eyebrow at this. “That’s a nice amulet. You haven’t sold it?”
I stared at him. “This necklace means more to me than money. This is my life.” Don’t ask me why. I had found it not long after I had taken to thievery, and was attached to it ever since.
The King’s eyes did not leave mine. “And this country’s life means more to me than one person’s life, or two people’s lives.”
I laughed grimly. “One or two? You’ve killed thousands!”
“And saved millions!” He said sharply. “Either I keep this land in check, or the government collapses and the world falls into chaos! You think I like doing this? You think I ENJOY watching citizens die? I don’t have a CHOICE! It’s either a few of them, or ALL OF THEM!” He shouted the last words. There was a moment of tense silence. Finally, he spoke once more. “I’m sorry. I admire you for what you’re doing. I don’t like the way this Empire is run either… but it’s the best I have right now. And I can’t have someone like you destroying what I’ve worked so hard to build.”
I looked away, hand not leaving the gold-ringed jewel around my neck. I heard his boots click against the ground as he strode towards me. “I apologize.” He said finally. I looked up at him, and saw a small tear in the corner of his eye. And in those dark eyes, I could see the same tiredness I saw in my own. This man wasn’t any different than I was. He was just another unfortunate soul, fighting for what he thought was right. I closed my eyes, knowing my fate was inevitable. I didn’t hear him draw his sword, nor did I see the flash of his heavy, gauntleted fist. I only felt a sharp, sudden pain, followed by nothing.
The King stepped forward, leaning down by the thief’s body. He sighed with weariness, and got up to leave. Someone would find him eventually, and hopefully give him a proper burial. The King left the room, leaving nothing but a dead hero and a glinting, blue necklace.





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

AnonymousFreak said...
May 26, 2012 at 6:16 pm
Amazing, great work.
 
rasberry71 said...
May 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm
i liked it alot but did the brave boy die?
 
rasberry71 said...
May 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm
i liked it alot but did the brave boy die?
 
ShadowRealms said...
May 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm
That was different, but I admire the hero's bravery and it puts a twist on the way we look at tyrants. All in all a joy to read.
 
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