The Twelve – The Emperor

Obbas, my Master of Games hovered to my right, hoping to stay invisible. I could feel the eyes of some of the Council elders on me. All knew the water-bearer had come too close for comfort.

Someone had to pay, and dearly.

I flicked my eyes toward Obbas. He drew near. “Your Imperial Majesty, please forgive me. The Arissian was watched for months, Your Majesty. We could not have known she possessed such power.”

“Could not?”

“Within the time —

“Silence!”

A few of the Council members furtively glanced my way. I gestured to my Lord Marshall. When he was still a few feet away I spoke, loud enough for the right ears to hear. “Our Master of Games’s sight has weakened somewhat of late. Take out his eyes, and bring them to my personal physician. Perhaps he can remedy what ails them.”

A ripple of fear sparkled around me. My dear late uncle was right; there was no sensation quite as satisfying as placing terror into the hearts of men.

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