Family love cannot trump the claim to the throne. And he must beat his uncle or else.
|Waves of power pulsate from the opening doorway. He waits in there, daring me to face him.|
“I’m not going in there.” The words are a hollow lie to pretend I can back off from the challenge he’s issued. He may be my uncle, but we can’t both have the throne and I fear his magic is greater than mine.
Once a warm invitation, the reek of dusty tomes is now a promise of certain death. I steel my nerves, I must do this. He would destroy the peace my family has spent centuries building.
He wants war and death. I cannot feed my people to him.
I step through the doorway, the hairs on my arms crackling with the magical charge in the air. His eyes lift from the desk covered in books.
“Nephew.” The word carries an unmistakable threat.
“Uncle.” My tone doesn’t carry his confidence, only a wary question. Would this be the moment he chose to dispute my claim to the throne?
Feigning curiosity, I stroll over. At the same moment he releases his spell, I jam the hidden blade through his chin and into his skull.
A lightning arch throws me across the room but it is already too weak to do more than leave scorch marks on my clothes and a tingling sensation. He claws at the bloody handle, gurgling in surprise. The terror in his eyes fades and he slumps over his studies.
Grief grips my heart. For all of his plotting, he was still my uncle. Loyalty to the people had not diminished my love for him, and I had killed him.
I whisper, “I’m sorry.”
I preferred to rule with his advice over my shoulder but he had forced my hand. Now, I would rule alone.
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