Meditations on Monarchs and Murderers
for Clara, a young Ar-Adunakhor grapples with the aftermath of the first revolt in Armineleth. An interlude to All The King’s Men, but it stands alone. Opinions of King’s Men not opinions of author, except about death. I agree with them on that.
Tar Ardamin, Ar-Abattârik, Nineteenth Ruler of Anadûnê, Lord Protector of the Nine Colonies, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, signed the execution orders with a vague expression of distaste.
“It’s a shame.”
Every heir to the throne had thought his father a stuffy, useless relic of bygone ages, Azulzir reminded himself, his toes tapping anxiously against the marble. Every heir to the throne probably thought longingly of the day he’d be in charge and all these unnecessary obstructions and misplaced priorities could be vanquished with one sweep of that sceptre.
One day he’d have a son or daughter who thought the same of him.
It was a humbling thought – or, rather, the sort of thought which ought to be humbling and which instead inspired a very different array of emotions. His mother said he was congenitally incapable of humility. If so, he’d gotten it from her side.
“It doesn’t bother you,” said the King, putting down his pen.
Azulzir sighed. “The state in your person executes fifteen hundred people a year, nearly all abroad. Some of them are innocent – not to my knowledge, obviously, but just by statistics. We aren’t infallible, the appeals system in the Protectorates is abbreviated – ”
“I wasn’t aware this was a special concern of yours.”
“The State is a special concern of mine,” said Azulzir tightly. “One day they will die in my name.