when he was young, before the calamity truly reached that far east, sidon had only heard stories of what war and discord could truly bring. he had seen the faraway look in the eyes of veteran soldiers with papercut pupils, often in his own father, as they told him just what cruelty other people could inflict upon each other. even then, it horrified him to think that his people, who so favored peace and cultivated equality amongst themselves and those in their domain, had seen, had done, unspeakable things in their vast lifetimes.
they called it a sickness when others, returning from voyages further inland, began turning blades against their kin. it was the first time he could ever remember people locking their doors at night and walking the platforms armed and armored, wary of their own brothers.
he still sees it all unfold when he closes his eyes at night. the lakebed awash in loss, the smoldering remains of a king and his village, the wide, black, desperate eyes of people the prince cared for and was meant to protect, still with blood on their teeth as the rain belted down.