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A True Ruler

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2/7/2009 4:13:28   

“We’re finished.”

“Don’t say that, sir! You are our king. You can’t give up!”

The man garbed in black takes off his crown. He wipes away a tear, the pain of what he is about to do and the memory of those fallen haunting him. “That’s the problem. I can’t give up, even when it could save lives. This war started because of my refusal to accept defeat. As things are, it’ll end that way as well.”

“‘It’s not over until it’s over!’ These are your words! You’ve given us a speech about never giving up because of that! You told us not to fight because you ordered us to, but rather, for us to fight for a darn-good reason! We’re all ready to fight, no matter the outcome. We’d die defending you. Was your speech meaningless? Was it all just empty words?”

“That’s the thing, my last knight. I meant every word. You’re forgetting the part about me protecting my people with my life. I have failed miserably. I don’t want my last subjects to die, especially not for me.”

The knight begs to his king. He pleads for him to fight, to keep on fighting, like he had been told to do. He cannot see his king’s determination, at least, not the determination that he has seen before. The horseless warrior garbed in armor styled after his master is finally silenced at the king’s urging.

“We can’t fight. You and I are the only ones here, in this area. Our forces are scattered. They’re all peasants. The only hope we have is that a noble peasant will sacrifice himself at the altar to bring our deathstriker back to life. Haven’t enough died already? My advisors, my deathstriker, my holymen, my archers, my infantry, half my peasants, and my knights, save for you? Has not that been enough already?”

“Yes. Our friends and comrades are dead. So don’t let their deaths be in vain!”

“I won’t. That’s the point. Too many have died because of me. By fighting, only more will die. They’re approaching to deliver the final blow. I’m not going to let them win, at least, not how they expect.”

“Suicide? Sir, you—”

“No. It’s practically, suicide, yes, but I could never commit that act. By doing this, he shall win and I shall die.”

“Sir? I do not understand…”

“The white flag. I’m going to surrender. Being the White King’s mortal enemy, I will be executed. But you will live on. The king holds no grudge against you and is a fine, honorable man. He’ll let all my subjects live on as they had before.”

“You’re my only king, sir. I could never have another.”

“But you must. You’ll be free, when I die. If it were just me, yes, I’d fight ‘til very end, since the moment I’d accept defeat would be the moment that I die. But I’ve got you, as well as a portion of my army. I can’t ask my men to die with me. I can’t let families lose their fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands anymore. You will live on. You will remember be. That’s all I can ever hope for.”

“Sir! We’re here for you! Don’t do it! We—”

“No, good night. I must. It is my way. Consider this my last order to my subjects: live on. Be free; don’t let me rule you. Accept a new chance at life that I would only ruin. Don’t throw your lives away for my folly. Live on; I command it. Live.”

The flag is flown, the king committing himself to his grim fate. He shows tears for all those that have been lost, fighting for him. In war, he knows that there will always be death. But some things have too high a price to be worth it. He surrenders and is captured, awaiting execution with only one knowing of his sacrifice.

I’ll follow your order, sir. If, for nobody else, for you, my liege, I will accept your final wish. You have shown wisdom like no other. You have shown strength, charisma, and power that cannot be matched.
That, right there…is the way a king should be. That man…is a true ruler…

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