Burning

Prompt: Never trust the sun. It will always burn you written 7 February 2021

He approached the gleaming palace slowly, squinting as the setting sun reflected on its golden roof. He loathed having to return here. The place held memories of nothing but shame.

To his great humiliation, the guards recognized him and let him in without a word. Head lowered, he made his way down the halls, passing first the throne room, then the dining room, then the library, until he reached the study.

He did not knock as he entered the private study of Theros, King of Sun. And Theros, clever as he was, showed no surprise at the arrival.

The deity merely lifted his head and smiled. “Martell, what a pleasant surprise! Welcome home!” Theros exclaimed, spreading his arms wide. “Shall I have your chambers made ready?”

“I will not spend a moment here that I don’t have to.” he replied softly.

The king’s arms fell. His smile remained, though his eyes blazed with heat. “I see. No need for a bed, then. But surely you would not deny yourself a meal, or at least something to drink?”

“No.”

“I am not an ungracious host, Martell. You must know this. Is there any way for me to make you feel welcome?”

Tear it down, he thought. Reduce this place to rubble and then curl up and die with it. He’d told them, insisted that no meaningful treaty could be made with Theros. The King of Sunlight knew nothing but how to burn.

Martell swallowed his rage and looked the tyrant in the eyes. “I come on behalf of the people of Kavan. We wish to bargain for your alliance.”

“You come as an emissary, then.” The king replied.

“Not an emissary.” he corrected. “A messenger. If you would be so gracious as to send a delegation to the outskirts of Kavan, we would be honored to meet with you and discuss your terms.”

Theros stood and crossed the room to stand before Martell. He was just close enough that he could feel the heat radiating from him. “And if I ask for my dignitary’s return, will it be granted?”

The heat was clouding his thoughts. He was sweating. He was shaking. The question held a threat that none in Kavan would see. He took a steadying breath and replied, “Such terms would be discussed between delegations. I do not have the authority to agree to anything.”

Theros grabbed his arm, the smell of burning flesh released at the same time as a cry of pain. There was no humor left in his eyes, only a white-hot rage. Martell tried and failed to break his grip. “Remember your place, whelp. You are mine to command, and you will return to me.” When he let go, a blackened handprint wrapped around his wrist. At the sight of this his good mood returned. “Tell the people of Kavan that I will meet with them personally, but only if you are a member of their delegation.” Theros returned to his seat and paused a moment before adding, “You may go.”

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