“A Farewell Letter of a Fallen King to His Lost Kingdom”
To my beloved Kingdom,
Indeed you are full of surprises, a King has been known to abandon his Kingdom, yet here you are, you deserted your King,
You swore an oath to me, haven’t you? You promised me to rule over you, yet you have betrayed your King. You crushed his heart into tiny little fragments.
I am in despair. This King is drowning in melancholy. He is longing for your touch, but he understands.
You are free now.
I hope that wherever destiny takes you, you shall continue to thrive. Shine your light to whoever needs it. You are the sole proof that a King is nothing without his Kingdom.
I will always love you.
I was versed at a very young age of how I should see the world in a perspective in which favor should always be on my side, no matter what the circumstance may be. They wrung every single drop of magnanimity within me, engraving into my mind that the light shall always be mine. The immaculate shall always be me.
As a result, I ended up standing alone; bearing the light which blinded me from the truth they feared of me knowing. And as I continued to hold on to the light that I kept selfishly for me, I realized a priceless lesson:
There was no light in loneliness; I had been there. All I could see from that place was the darkness of dismay.
As a young boy, I was always curious about the world outside of my kind’s domain. We were the race that isolated itself from the rest of the world. Because of that, many have suffered. Our power sustained the life of nature. Our very existence was the reason why the other races got to live. But they did not appreciate our power and pushed us into retaliation that drove them into their downfall.
We experienced misjudgment, we went through defilement and so we resorted to abandonment.
They committed their self-destruction when they discovered that those mindless creatures that wreaked havoc were once us. Without full comprehension of how things ended up the way it did, most of the races that once fought with each other joined forces and attempted to slaughter us all.
During the war, many of the ancients lost their lives due to their meekness which resulted from a tyrant King that once ruled the nation. My grandfather, who ruled after the deceased dictator, decided to amass every ancient into one place. Using his body, he created The Great Genshi Tree and sheltered us from the outside world.
The exterior form of the trunk opposed any invading forces from the opposite races and the once submissive race finally learned to fight for their place.
Within the sapphire wooden interior of the tree, the ancients built an opulent Kingdom of light blue-green walls. There stood amidst thousands of petite and humble houses was the palace that stretched greatly. It only exhibited the difference of status between the one ruling and the ones being ruled.
As we bloomed and flourished, the world we hid from withered and crumbled. Our absence and lack of mercy became evident to the whole world. I then briefly wondered if deprivation can make greedy people regret greed or further give them the drive to become even more covetous.
Twenty years have passed ever since the ancients closed themselves off. No one ever got to leave except for one Ancient who opposed the conditions of the deceased King. That ungovernable man was no other than my onii (brother), Lucius.
My brother was never the one to follow the rules and regulations of the Kingdom. He was audacious, strong, and he was respected despite his reputation for being defiant. I idolized him and followed him everywhere in the Kingdom. I boasted about him to every person we meet because he was my brother and I wanted to become like him someday.
Lucius told me stories of the outside world and reminded me to never succumb to our race’s selfishness no matter what our parents tell me. He was trying to raise a rebellious son in me and our parents were well aware of that.
On the day of my brother’s departure, my okaa (mother), and I saw him off. I held onto my mother’s hand with a heavy heart and watched as my brother prepared everything he needed for his journey.
After double-checking everything, he bent in front of me and placed a soft kiss against my forehead. I toughened myself up and willed myself not to cry in front of him because he was always saddened when I was sad.
"Arrivederci (goodbye) little brother, don’t grow up too fast, alright? Goodness, you act and speak so maturely as if you aren’t six years old,” he chuckled and held me close to him in a tight embrace.
I placed my two hands on either side of his face and gave his sharp nose a smooch. ”Arrivederci onii, please come back soon!” I told him optimistically.
Onii chuckled and ruffled my head causing petals to fall from my flower crown. Flower crowns were the status symbol of royalty and despite my brother, who was a big and mighty Prince; he still possessed a rich-colored crown that attracted the many women and men in the Kingdom.
“I will miss you. Don’t cause too much trouble for father and mother, understand?”
Mother let out a “hmph” and brother straightened up and gave her a hug which was not returned.
“Please do not worry for me, mother, I will be fine,” he assured with a small smile.
Our mother glared at him in bitterness and didn’t budge from being persistently perturbed.
“I have nothing left to say to you. You know very well of what’s out there and you still decide to leave for these ridiculous peregrinations as if you are taunting death to chase you,” she scornfully scolded.
“Okaa~” I called out and tugged at her dress. “What is pere…peregrine…” I tried to pronounce.
Onii sighed from hearing the same reprimanding for the hundredth time. He repeated the same explanation he gave the last time she was upset with him.
“The world needs us okaa. I cannot just enjoy the life within this tree knowing how much the world is dying.”
Okaa turned around in disappointment and my heart dropped from seeing my onii get so much rejection.
Why must okaa be like this whenever onii will leave? She was being unkind to him just like otou (father) who refused to see him off and reasoned out that he was buried with work.
“Go, Lucius...you know too well what happens to us when we die yet you decide to get yourself slaughtered.”
Onii rubbed his forehead with his palm. He was stressed and tired of hearing okaa complain.
I grabbed one of onii’s thick fingers with my small hand and smiled at him while my other hand was busy behind me. I grew a white flower within my palm and presented it to him. His melancholic expression brightened and he plucked the flower from my palm making me wince a bit from the stinging pain.
“Thank you chii (baby brother), I will cherish it,” he said lovingly and kissed the flower.
He mounted Argo, his trusted pegacorn, and patted its neck. Its body was a luminous blue that provided enough light by nightfall. Argo was always his companion during his journeys. It was by chance that he found a lost pegacorn in one of the villages he visited and they became close companions ever since.
The ippótes (Knights) of the gates placed their hands against the shut exit and gradually, the ivory metallic gates started to open.
The sound of the gates wailing was the sound of my unexpressed sadness for my onii’s departure yet I did not want to trouble him with my feelings of sadness.
I waved at my onii to bid him another farewell and he twisted a bit from his seat to wave back at me. The light from outside the gates shone at him, calling him to come back to his altruistic duties.
At that point, for some peculiar reason in my chest, I realized how much I disapproved of his departure. It wasn’t because I felt that something bad would happen to him yet I didn’t understand it well enough to speak out loud.
"Arrivederci Onii!" I shouted.
Argo galloped out of the gates and I heard onii shout:
The pegacorn flapped its wings and soared up high. The doors then shut themselves after and the ippótes put themselves back into their stern positions like statues waiting for a law-breaker to assault on.
"Okaa, when will onii come back?” I asked her and looked up.
She looked down at me with gloom in her blue eyes and pursed her lips in the same dissatisfaction as she gave to onii.
“I do not know Lucian...we’ll just have to wait again,” she murmured.
I glanced at the gates in great wonderment and set up my excitement for my onii’s next homecoming.
I miss my onii already.
"Okaa, why can’t we go out?” I asked her.
Okaa grimaced from my inquiry but tried to form a smile as she attempted to structure an answer that will make me understand her side. She squatted in front of me and kissed my hand in adoration.
“It’s dangerous Lucian.”
I looked at the gates again and back at her.
When onii told me his tales nothing seemed dangerous at all.
Okaa released a breath of exasperation because of my persistence but answered nonetheless.
“The world is dangerous and...We cannot die any further Lucian. Although our kind is the source of life, we are also the source of death.”
Then we were the ones dangerous and not the outside world itself? What were they afraid of then?
I gave her a puzzled look from her vague explanation and pushed on. “I do not understand, please explain further?”
She cupped my cheek and closed her eyes as if to push away memories that haunted her for the longest time.
“Because when we die Lucian, we become the very death that lives to destroy others,” she told me.
She opened her eyes once more and great trepidation was instilled in them.
“We become the Catastrophes.”
Nightfall came and otou tucked me under the sheets of the bed. He placed a kiss on my cheek and I rubbed my hands against his stubble causing me to laugh from the prickling yet tickling sensation.
Otou chortled in response; his deep baritone voice resonated in the room. His skin showed a soft glow in the blanket of darkness but my skin was abnormally much brighter than anyone else’s. I asked my otou once why I was like that and he answered wit
“You’re special. You possess so much life in you that no one can match.”
“Good night otou,” I replied before yawning.
Before my father could stand up, I remembered a question I saved up for the day and grabbed his sleeve. I asked him the question that okaa refused to answer.
“What’s a Catastrophe?”
His eyes widened and he cleared his throat once his composure returned. He laughed a bit and stroked my hair.
“Why do you ask Tesoro (sweetheart)?”
"Okaa mentioned it when I asked why we cannot leave. Will you make them go away, otou? If they’re gone, can I come with onii whenever he goes out? I want to help others like what onii does!” I said cheerfully.
Otou’s eyebrows scrunched up from my statement. My smile slowly faltered when I saw how negative his expression became.
“This is our home, Lucian. We stay here for as long as we live,” he whispered and his eyes glared hard at mine.
“You are not allowed to go out of those gates, I forbid it,” he said strongly, causing me to wince from the strength of his agitation.
I was well aware at that time that I wasn’t talking to my father. He was ordering me as a King of our race and I was required to obey it no matter how much it upset me.
It was still night time when I woke up. I left my room and walked towards my parents’ room in hopes of asking for refuge. I stopped by their door when I heard them arguing with my mother sobbing.
“What if...what if he decides to leave like Lucius when he grows up? I can’t have that Lohann! I...I almost lost him when he was born and I can’t lose him again!” she cried out, causing him to groan in frustration.
“But you can’t just decide on putting him under that training Meria he is our son!” he snapped.
“I know that!” she shouted back.
There was a long pause after that outbreak and I waited for them to continue. My heart pounded strongly against my chest and I felt my feet and hands get cold. My parents were fighting because of me, weren’t they? What did I do wrong?
“But I will do anything to protect him! Lucius is too compassionate because he knows how to empathize and sympathize. If we can train
Lucian to become emotionless and loyal to our kind like the ippótes, he will have none of that.”
“I can’t believe this!” Father gritted out. “This training system...will turn our son into something we don’t want. You do understand this don’t you?” my father questioned.
“I know that my love. I am prepared. If this will make him safe from the rotten clutches of our deceased people, then it must be done.”
The door opened and I froze in place from being caught eavesdropping. Father was startled to find me there but his expression softened as he knelt in front of me.
“Lucian...” he softly spoke.
I looked down in shame and rubbed the tears off my eyes.
“Please don’t fight with each other anymore otou, I get scared…” I whimpered.
I took a peek from under my lashes and found him visibly gulp.
“How would you like to no longer feel any fright?” he asked.
“I would be glad…” I hiccupped.
I did not like it when I felt fear.
I did not like it when I felt sad.
I had to be brave like my brother.
It was a proposal that not only took away my ability to be afraid but also my ability to feel other things.
I felt no remorse.
I felt no anger.
I felt no compassion.
I did not know how to love or feel love.
They eradicated the memories I had of my brother. They burned the memories I had when they still showered me with love and affection.
I lost myself.
I lost my heart.
What is love...exactly?