The Seventh King of Gauna

By the lake not in this world or another, a man sits by its frozen banks as water fails to break its surface. In the sky, sun is non-existant. Like his life, it fades. As a symbol of his will, it is bleak. With his Nightsmen he continues his journey along the borders of Xiching and Joseon, rallying his supporters against their Hierarchical rule and the six dynasties of Gauna, but a way to destroy their power evades their grasps and instead they remain prisoners to the shade. When set on the trail of a supposed messenger from others who defied their king in the Taoshi region in no-man’s land, they come across many of the exiled and run-away citizens victim to the regional regime. Among them, a young herbalist named Saeji had sought out the no-mans land to escape the evil reign of Chosheon who had executed her entire family in order to rid their kingdom of traitors.

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4. Inextinguishable Flames

The rage and anger was there. The fire started deep within my heart and as the small flames escaped its fortress, they licked their way down my figure until my icy body began to thaw. Around me, however, life remained iced over, hopeless, and dull - nothing I could do to change that.

 

In the distance, I could see the two lords and their wives sitting comfortably surrounded by their riches and luxuries, laughing at our misfortune while throwing scraps to the peasants who danced dangerously on ice above the freezing waters - willing to do anything for some food.

 

But as I blink, the sight leaves me, and instead the distance is covered in a fog across the frozen lake. It looked like fog.

 

Pain creeps into my leg. Peering down, I see the glow of a flame. Kicking my leg to extinguish it, it fails, and instead I’m rendered useless to the ground as the smell of burning flesh attacks my sense of smell.

 

It felt like the days when my father would tell me I was useless, when he’d tell me how I was no king for Joseon. It hurt at first, but then an anger so uncontrollable would seep to the surface and show everyone that a Joseon did reside in fact somewhat reside in my veins.

 

The fire wisping at my leg didn’t give in, and instead crawled its way up my body consuming my torso. I screamed, I wailed. No one came to help, no one would hear me except for my own conscience.

 

Crawling away from the flame, it followed. Backed into a corner with no escape, it felt unreal. The fire, however, did not kill me. Instead it prolonged the pain I had my entire life desired an escape from. Whispering, telling me all was not okay, and that it would do everything it’s power to keep it like that.

 

“Let’s strike a deal,” its even tone wisps at my ears in a haunting whisper.

 

The pain becomes too much. I accept.  




 

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