[RO] Long Live the King
Now the old king is dead. Long live the King.
wordcount ► 1443

He felt weak. Very weak. The man had been fading for the past several weeks, and his fluid days were few and far between. Time passed in a blur, or what he recognized as time certainly had seemed to be so. He did not know how he was outside of those wakeful and aware hours, but there was something that his lucid mind did know; he was not content with the way his life was ending, and he wanted for it to end.

Silvano had not eaten much for the month prior, just enough to keep him going even though he was thinning and his usually impressive wide chest seemed more shrunken and wizened. He looked old. He felt old. He was old. The tarnished mirror he passed showed a man greying faster than expecting, more white than imagined in his muzzle, in his brown hair, on his hands even. There was no youth left in him.

Lucid and aware, he slipped out of the Hotel without alerting his family, knowing they would likely be concerned when they saw he had wandered from his rooms. But it was the one thing he knew he wanted, and he wanted it his way. He had lived his life doing what he wanted, even if it was in the name of duty.

His first stop, weakened as he was, was the coast. Along the once terrifying cliff edge, he stared into the water. Charlotte had disappeared beneath the waves. It had also taken his parents across to Europe, and away from him. He debated it as his own grave. A moment passed, enough for an ailing man to gather his breath and energy, and walk himself away from the dangerous edge.

The sea had never been his enemy and it was not his destiny to dramatically fling himself from a cliff. Memories of his wife’s bloated corpse left his stomach with a lurch. His children may not have forgiven him, but he refused to subject them to such a sight.

His mind drifted into the familiar fog with horrible reluctance. It was a danger to him as he traversed the Court without a thought as to where he really was. Somewhere in that lost haze, he hoped that whatever part of his mind was operating had the good sense to stay safe, but there was nothing he could do. It felt like he was trapped in the shadows of his mind while the past floated to the top like oil slicks.

Water at his ankles was the first thing he really found himself aware of, but it was not the smell of the sea. He looked down the shore and saw the telltale shore of Rabbit Lake. He smiled, knowing that his past centered on Crimson Dreams and it was where he had grown into a young man. But it alarmed him; he wondered what his wandering mind was thinking and doing without his permission.

Feet wet, he stepped out of the sand and gravel beach. A nearby tree leaned slightly toward the water and he reached for it, finding his strength failing him. He must have walked a long distance. Eyes to the sky, it was well past noon. He had left the Hotel earlier that morning. Time ticked by, racing, crashing, roaring, leaving him in the dust.

At the base of the tree he sat, neither feeling the hunger in his belly nor the breeze that pulled at his lank hair. Silvano stared at the water, feeling the flood of memories that he could pull from flash past. His cousin on the ice, playing with his siblings, his mother’s face. It was fuzzy, an old memory, but it was dark much like his Serena’s face was.

He smiled, then he frowned. He wondered how his mother would feel if she could see him then, sitting with the fog approaching by the lake that used to be smaller. He wondered how she would feel about his infidelities and the way his Kingdom had been run. Would she pity him? Would she understand? Would she be ashamed?

Crying, not for the first time, he stared in silence toward the lightly lapping waves made by the wind. He could almost hear her soothing voice, cradling him in an attempt to comfort. He almost could feel her hands on his hair, stroking it with a coo.

Hush, my son, hush. Her voice was soft as he remembered. His heart was heavy, but her soft tones settled the turmoil within. It truly felt like she was pressing her dark hand to his head. Don’t cry like this, mio piccolo principe, she said to him, amused. Silvano’s eyes were shut and he felt like a child in her grasp.

"I’m sorry, mama, I’m sorry," he cried into her warm grasp, always strong. She was the berserker mother who loved her children beyond all else. "I should have done better, I should have been better, I just didn’t –“ he was stopped by her hushing him again, wrapping welcoming arms around his shoulders.

You did your best, I know you tried, sweetheart, her voice was fluid, like an echo, but he did not know if it was her voice or how he remembered her voice to be. We make mistakes, we move on. It’s time to move on, sweetheart, she added, though her grasp around him did not shift. He sniffled, tears abating for the moment.

"I hurt them so much. I hurt Giselle, and Shiloh," His throat closed again, tears threatening as his mother began to rock him. "I don’t know why, I just did. I hurt my children and I hurt Shiloh, and I love her more than anything."

You did, Silvano, you did hurt me, said a more familiar voice, more easily remembered. A hand settled on his thigh and he opened teary eyes to look at the young, pale woman sitting beside him. She looked as he remembered her after their love affair began. There was no grey in her hair and her face was not destroyed by a murderous usurper’s rage.

"Shiloh," he breathed, leaning forward. He did not notice that the loving embrace of his mother’s arms had faded. It was just him and his wife, sitting by the Rabbit Lake. "Shiloh, I’m so sorry for this all. This was all my fault and you suffered the most for it," he scrambled to explain, his hand reaching to engulf her small fingers. There was no white on his digits. Had he looked into the water, he would have seen that the white on his face and hair would have been gone. The scars were absent, too.

His fingers tightened on hers but she did not flinch. She smiled sadly back at him, letting him spill his heart to her the way he had failed to do in life.

"I shouldn’t have let it happen, I should’ve put a stop to it before anything happened. I’m so sorry, my love, for the miserably way everything had to end," he sobbed out at her. Silvano pulled her hand toward his heart, but her fingers slipped from his grasp. Shiloh stroked his face as he openly cried, before he caught her hand again, pressing it against his cheek.

I understand, dear, I understand. Yet, there was no word on forgiving him. How could she? He had done exactly what she had feared.

"Please, forgive me, my love," he whispered, pleadingly looking at her as she examined him. It felt like the longest moments in his life, and it happened in a heartbeat.

In time, I will. But, that’s the beauty of it, you Sadira brat, is that there’s quite a lot of it for us to work things out, she said with a chuckle, patting his cheek as his hand fell into his lap.

He stared at her, swallowing his misery. "I love you, Shiloh," he said in a whisper as she leaned beside him and linked their hands together upon his thigh.

Silvano felt warm, but the breeze was still absent. It honestly did not feel like anything, though. The warmth was fading, but there was a brightness about everything as Shiloh’s fingers squeezed his hand. I love you, too, Silvano, she chuckled, as he felt a much more welcoming darkness settle upon him with a final sigh.

For all the world beyond, he would have looked to be a man who had sat down and fallen asleep, for the worry and the sorrow had faded from his features.

Photo taken by Luana. Table style inspired by Kitty.

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  <div class="title">SILVANO SADIRA</div>
<span style="font-family:'Amatic SC', serif;">Now, I've learned it's better living in the moment. Enjoy youth, cause it doesn't last.</span><br>
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