XXIII

The Inner Voice

 

The grave was silent; it had ever been thus.

And though empty of heart, a small voice still insisted.

So far back in his mind that he might not trust,

The Dark King heard protest ‘gainst his methods enlisted.

 

‘Thou hast been taken from me,’ he whispered with pain.

‘I shall fight to the last and never again.

This kingdom shall share the depth of my grief.

For everyone judged, there shall be no relief.’

 

‘And by what power dost thou brand a man’s crime?

Thou hast lost control of thy kingdom and mind.

Draw us back from the brink of this zealot’s solution,

lest thy legacy die with thine anger’s pollution.’

 

‘Men know only violence and violence related.

How can my legacy survive in this story?

Thou dost inhabit the mind of a world evaporated

by the greed of a subject who sought his own glory.’

 

‘Yet thou hast fallen deeper and drawn thyself in;

thou whose deeds never fell foul of such sin.

Thou art no better than the men thou dost kill.

Thou deservest no kingdom, for thou art its ill.’

 

‘And what should I do to draw myself back?

And why should I care of my legacy lacked?

I have no son, no heir to anything great.

All I have left is a reason to hate.’

 

‘The day shall come when thou dost learn thyself wrong.

But it shall be too late in thy funeral song.

Go to the Church. Order their submission.

Or the world shall burn with dark premonition.’

 

The Dark King pondered his conscience some time,

and stared at the grave of the archer’s crime.

He drew himself up and swore the world rather

to make his son proud of his fallen Father.

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