The assassin had penetrated into the innermost sanctum of the Dominion, her blade poised to strike the king and end the threat the nation posed to her clan, the poison glistened gently on the blade as she stealthily made her way over to his bed where he slept. Without a moment’s hesitation she drove the blade into his heart, the sudden splash of blood and the look of pain and terror upon his face soothed her soul as he cried out against her hand as she muffled him. Twisting the blade drove him deeper into agony. A smile played across her face as his body spasms drove the blade deeper into his chest cavity, blood sprayed over her black armor. The scent and feel of the blood drove her into a wild excitement, barely contained by her need to escape the guards that would come momentarily. A clatter at the door caused her to look briefly in that direction before withdrawing her blade. A final glance at his still wretching body would confirm the kill and… where did he go? She had stabbed a pillow on the king’s bed. She looked up and saw him, staring straight at her with those cold, loveless eyes. She buried her fear at his reputation and took a swing at him, but the blade passed through him entirely. She heard a voice that came from everywhere at once, even inside of her own head, boomed in a bass that shook her skull, “Welcome, Julia.” Her eyes darted around trying to find him. “ The accident at the saw mill was unfortunate for James, wasn’t it?” Her heart felt like it was going to leap out of her chest. “Shame about your father, he was a good man.” What the hell was going on? She spun around towards the window and he was standing there. The moonlight overshadowed him and cast his features in shadow, but even so a jolt of adrenaline overcame her discipline and she started to bolt towards the door. She made it one step and stumbled, her limbs felt like they were made of jello. The king was pure evil, she could feel his aura as he stood over her, merely watching yet somehow in complete control. Her life started to flash before her eyes, focusing on every bad memory she ever had, how she had embarrassed her family, how her rebellion came on the eve of her father’s heart attack and death, how she had cast been such a selfish adolescent, she saw her mother and father weep when she had faked her own death. The memories overwhelmed her and she cried out in fear, a pathetic whimper. The king knelt down beside her, lifting her headgear off, gently caressing her face and whispered, “It’s ok my dear child.” The memories ceased as she shook violently in his arms. He brought her close, quietly singing to her as she cried. She awoke the next morning in a daze, like she had been out all night drinking the night before. What happened? The sun shone through the stained glass windows of her room, all was as it should be, yet she couldn’t shake the feeling that something might be terribly wrong. She zombie walked out of her room and down the rich red rug down towards the kitchen. “Good morning, dear.” “Good morning dad.” She replied as he hugged her tight, her head leaning against the soft robes of royalty. ________________ Was trying to be subtle, did I succeed?