A Tale of Two Kings

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*Artwork by Angellrae*

     There were once two kings that warred against one another, both of them brothers born of the same father.  Their father died a tragically short death from poison by their mother, whom they both promptly had placed on trial and executed.  The two young men grew to see each other as bitter rivals.  And as such, they split their large kingdom in two.
Both sides fought each other to prove who was the superior son.  Their father ruled a once powerful and unified kingdom, and they felt that the only way true peace could be established would be to war on until one brother had established dominion over the other.

     Many years wore on, and the eras of both kingdoms changed.  Both sides grew more advanced in their uses of technology, often in means that meant the destruction of the other side.  The once prosperous and powerful empire had split into two warring kingdoms, nations divided by a sibling quarrel, one that grew so bitter it drove the soldiers who served them mad.  Times in the once prosperous empire were no more.  Neither side was willing to surrender, so both sides continued to war on against one another for the next several decades.  Neither side had earned decisive victories against one another, and both sides had a brutal hatred for one another.  The brothers would have message pigeons sent to one another, sharing letters of hatred with one another, and each brother ordered the newly received pigeons to be killed promptly after receiving the message.  The morale of their people didn't fare any better, both sides often fighting each other in minor skirmishes.  All that separated the two was a thin stone wall that served as a border between the two kingdoms, thinly veiling and preserving what little remained of their once powerful empire.

     Many of the people who lived along the wall border would scream at one another through an iron gate in the wall that allowed for limited passage from one side to another.  Peasants would spit at one another from across the railing and would curse each other and their families.  At night, there would be spies and assassins from each kingdom who would kidnap, torture, and murder important people from each kingdom.  Their families were often taken hostage and their throats were slit in front of the main captive.  As the captive would beg and plead for their families safety, tears running down their faces, the wives and children of the captive would have their throats slit, their tongues removed, and a pike would be driven through the back of their heads.  The captive would cry and plead, desperately trying to do something, anything to end the pain and suffering he was forced to witness, until the enemy smashed his head in with a pike, beating away until his head was nothing but a mess of blood and shattered bone.

     Events like this only continued to grow in frequency and severity as the livelihood and wealth of both kingdoms began to dwindle.  They shared little commonality or relationships with any outside kingdoms, and slowly began to realize how they were becoming susceptible to attacks from opposing forces.  Neighboring tribes knocked on the doors outside their walls, hunger and greed driving their forces to devour what was left of the two kingdoms.  There was little left to do but to fight each other in a free for all and claim what was left of the land beneath their feet.

     Both brothers rode out on mighty war beasts into battle and warred on for many hours, depleting both kingdoms of their lifeblood and their resources.  Bodies were strewn out on both sides.  Blood nurtured and fed the land beneath them.  As both brothers drew upon their final breaths, tangled in a quarrel of their own iron and blood, they made a pact to be better men.  They wanted their kingdoms to move forward if one of them were to survive this battle, but they would not live much longer.  As they lied side by side in the grass, bleeding out, the earth beneath them opened up, swallowing them both whole.  The entire kingdom fell down into the pit, swallowed by the land that once provided life, food, shelter, and something worth fighting for.  But all of that fell away as the spirit of the land claimed the once powerful and honored kingdom.  For, as the saying goes, once something is lost, you can never truly get it back


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