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The Drowning of the King

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Before the forces of the world crystallized, they were brutal and wild, beyond control or comprehension. Humanity petitioned them through the oldest and deepest magic: blood.

Blood for the fields, when the earth was barren. Blood for the flames, when the wildfires raged. Blood poured out beneath the sky, to summon the rains. Blood spilled into the seas, to calm them.

Power suffused the veins of kings, so king's blood was the greatest magic. And if the king was selfish, hoarding food for himself while his people starved, no one cared that he was an unwilling sacrifice.

They bound his limbs and scored his flesh, weighted him with iron and cast him beneath the waves. The salt burned his wounds; his blood streamed in dark ribbons, clouding the water. The crushing agony in his lungs spread throughout his body. When he tried to breathe, the sea flooded him, seeking him to efface him from the inside out.

The king was too selfish to become part of the sea. He coughed and spat himself against it, pouring his hatred into his blood. The sea would not have him; he would poison the sea.

And something far above, far greater than any force that had claimed an ocean's worth of humanity's blood, agreed.

Power descended; he didn't mind the price. When he breathed the water, he took command of it. Salt encrusted his wounds and hardened to scales. The iron binding him gathered on his back and fused to his flesh.

When he rose, forever changed, and dragged his new bulk onto the shore, he pulled the waters behind him with all the gravity of a third moon. They washed away his kingdom by the sea until no trace of it remained.

The drowned king gleamed black in the moonlight and laughed.