Burden for progeny
The streets underneath him reaked of abundance and ignorance. He had provided his people with a paradise, but they were unable to maintain it. He had given them wealth and power, but they refused to distribute it when it was their turn to be kind.
He saw a group of his soldiers emerging from the east. Soon loud cheers followed. The shopkeepers emerged out of their small holes and the crowds gave way to their heroes. They had won the war, it seemed. But his expression remained the same as before. Solemn.
Why would someone who was raised in a garden of roses rejoice when he saw the blood of his enemies? He had conditioned his people to dislike war. Gave them peace for fifty years. But it seemed like it was all for nothing. He could not change a single heart by his actions.
The sight reminded him of his youth, when he had been brought up to believe that the only way to survive was to destroy everything else. It was the truth, as it was told to him, that the machines of empires and kingdoms required violence for sustaining them. The days of pagans sacrificing blood had not passed. Rather, they had been normalized.
Even kids seemed to be mentally immune to seeing red. Was it all about their conditioning? If so, then what was the secret? So that he may use it to condition his people to be peaceful. And if not, then humanity was absolutely doomed. And the people who told him to be ruthless were right.
He left the balcony and went back into his room. The door to it opened and his son emerged. “Father!” Corentin said, raising his arms, and with the most largest grin on his face. They both hugged.
He noticed Corentin’s bloodied armour and dissheveled hair. Tears came to his eyes. The face of an innocent young kid emerged in front of him. But realizing it was no longer the case in reality pained him.
Corentin hugged him once more. He probably imagined that his father was proud of him.
Forget about his empire and his victories. Forget about the mercy he showed to his enemies. All that he was leaving behind for his progeny was this. A blood sacrificing machine that transformed men into abominations hungry for conflict.
And the first victim was his beloved.