“Where have you been?” says a gravelly voice from behind.
Cyrus turns around, surprised to see his father standing between him and the door he just came through. His heart beats faster, but his expression stays the same.
“Missed me much?” Cyrus asks carelessly.
“You’re seeing a girl” he drawls. The son steps back, fear fighting to take over his mind. He has always felt powerless, but Sierra’s the only thing keeping him sane. She’s his hope for a better life, his light through the utter darkness. If his father, the King, knows about her, she needs to run from Elpida.
“I must admit, she is pretty, but she might be a threat. I told you not to build any relationships. You disobeyed.” His Majesty lifts his right hand and he smiles. “You need to be punished.” Cyrus feels the magic creeping inside him and pain bursts in his head. He stumbles on his knees and screams until the pain leaves.
“Sierra. Beautiful name.” His father comes to him, only to hit him and leave the room afterwards. Cyrus spits blood on the white marble floor. He needs to be faster than his father to find Sierra or she’ll end up dead. He stands up and runs outside, into the rain.
Elpida is a beautiful hidden island where magic blossoms, but evil sits on the throne. Every practitioner has a talent; the King can read minds and Cyrus is what they call an illusionist. Unfortunately, his talent isn’t much help since he does not control it very well.
As he runs through the forest, he thinks about Sierra’s favorite spot and heads towards it. Luckily, his father does not know her very well.
When he reaches the lake, a woman with long golden hair is swimming underneath the water. Her head breaks the surface in an elegant manner and a smile brightens her purple eyes. She joins him on the edge of the lake, circled by trees. The stars and the moon reflect on water, and fireflies give a mystical glow to the scene.
“Sierra.” Cyrus speaks her name in a low whisper, sadness darkening his blue eyes. Her smile fades. “You need to leave.” He gazes at the horizon, ignoring her pleading and beautiful visage.
“Cyrus, I won’t leave you, I love you” she says, her voice on the verge of breaking.
“No, you don’t know what I’ve done. I’m a monster” he responds, shame and guilt filling his mind.
She raises her tone. “I don’t believe you. You’re not your father, Cyrus.”
“Here’s where you’re wrong. When it comes to him, I’m powerless. I have done horrible things.” His words seem to have drained him of hope. “And he knows about you. He’ll destroy you.”
Sierra is about to reply when a cold and hard voice interrupts her. “There you are, son.” The King. The word “son” seems filled with hatred. Sierra stands right in front of Cyrus, hidden from his father’s sight. Cyrus turns to face him, fear nearly paralyzing him. He feels sweat trickling down on his back and he fails to answer his father.
Sierra steps aside. Yet, his Majesty asks “Where is your beautiful lover?”
Cyrus almost frowns, but he resists, and replies “She is long gone.” In a whisper, he adds “Run.” She almost missed it, his voice carried by the wind. She whispers back, “Meet me later.” And she runs as fast as she can. When she is far enough, a tiny part of an invisible weight disappears. However, he feels drained; he unknowingly used an illusion to keep Sierra hidden from his father’s sight.
“She can’t be far.” His father steps forward until he is one foot away. “I figured your punishment. You’ll be the one who kills her.” He smiles, madness darkening his eyes until they are almost as black as ebony. Cyrus realizes how little humanity his father still has. Or maybe he never had humanity at all. Memories float back up in his head.
18 years old Cyrus had lunch planned with his older brother, Philippe. Their parents wouldn’t eat with them; the King did not acknowledge Philippe’s existence. He thought he was a humiliation to the royal family because of his paralyzed body. But Cyrus loved his brother.
Before lunch, his father gave him two cups, one filled with wine and the other filled with water. “The wine’s for you, and the water’s for your brother. Wine isn’t good for his health” he explained.
Cyrus should have known better. The water was poisoned and Philippe died during the night. By Cyrus’s hand.
Over a year, his mother, too much affected by her husband’s terrible actions, started going crazy. She would tell everyone nonsense. Ashamed of herself and unable to bear it anymore, she killed herself. She left Cyrus alone with his cruel dad.
Back to the present, Cyrus remembers how powerless his father has always made him feel. He is definitely tired of it, and only one thing can be done. Hatred towards his father exceeds fear and reason. A guttural sound escapes his throat and he unsheathes his sword. The King laughs without humor. He lifts his hand to take his son by the neck, but Cyrus is faster. His sword draws an arc and cuts clean his father’s hand. He does not wait to see the astonished look on his Majesty’s face. With no hesitation, he pierces his father’s heart with his sword. When he staggers back, the King crumbles to the cold ground, lifeless.
He thought he would feel better, but, right now, he feels dirty. Blood is already drying on his hands and nausea submerges him. He looks away from the body to empty his stomach, and then runs into the lake.
Once clean, he brings the body and back to the palace. He is now King of Elpida, he couldn’t be more powerful. However, he still isn’t happy. He cannot admit to Sierra what happened, and she might always be in danger.
When manages to find her, he looks at her hidden in the shadows and does what he knows is best for her. He walks up to her and blows memory dust towards her. She faints, slowly crumbling to the ground. He kneels beside her and kiss her forehead, tears sliding down his cheeks. “You’ll forget everything about Elpida and me. You had a normal mundane life and have never left Great Britain.” She’ll wake up later in London.
Cyrus finally has the power he has always hoped for, he is crowned King. But at what cost? He might have control and power, but he has lost hope and love. He guesses he can’t have everything after all.