Where he goes, the whispers follow, always behind his back. They sneer at him, mock him, turn away in disgust. Traitor. Unfaithful. Dishonorable. He is all of that they say he is and so much more. He is the golden warrior, the head of the guard, a man with more secrets than he cares to admit. And yet, at his very core, he is honest. He won’t turn away from a fight for something he deserves. Muscles like water, he moves with expertise. Weapons become an inseparable part of his body. In battle, they do not see him coming. Those who once whispered behind his back now turn to see only the silver flash of a blade before their hearts are pierced. For a time, he thought he existed to be an obedient tool: to follow the king, to follow his father, to follow his generals. But then he realized he did not need to follow when he could lead. Why should he follow men mad with power? He saw the cruelty in his world and accepted it- embraced it to replace the empty void inside. Even the most beautiful woman in the kingdoms cannot fill that place. He swallows his guilt whole. He becomes a weapon, no longer human. After a lifetime of vows to corrupt kings, he vows to himself: he will not bleed, not until they tear his limbs apart and recite a list of his vile deeds. He will savor the penance.