One day my son this will all be yours
On his sixteenth birthday, he followed his father upstairs to a small chamber in which the whole world was contained. He came back downstairs changed – a man – and his boy-brother eyed him thoughtfully, but did not ask.
On his long quest, he thought often of his father watching him from afar. On the outward journey, wandering through lost and empty lands, this certainty gave comfort. But as the river pulled him steadily closer to home – to his failing city and his father’s scrutiny – he felt only the expectation: as a yoke upon his shoulders, as a weight about his neck.
Tower of Guard
After the event, but before full healing, he pondered whether he should have spoken his mind and warned of the dangers. But his brother had not confided in him, and his father would not have wanted his views upon the matter – that to look too closely is to risk enthrallment, that a wise man looks away.
Sometimes he caught himself studying the new owner. He watched for the signs – the greyness, the silence, the grimness, the withering. But this lord, taking full possession of his inheritance, did not falter. In his hands all flourished; there was no danger of decay.
The very heart of the city
Up in his eyrie, his mind was most often upon higher things: fleets and armies, enemies, the end of the world. Still, he was not above watching them sometimes: their games, and growth and secrets; their impregnable bond.
In the end, they both slipped away from him: like water running through his fingers, like a warm spark that sputters for a second before dying. He went up to his tower to look for them – and, beyond them, for her – but saw only what he was allowed to see: the black ships, the red fire, the certain end, the ever-watchful Eye.