He was born to a powerful family.
Her birth cost her her mothers life.
His parents left him to the servants, who raised him as another head of cattle in the stockade, a product with a function.
She cried as her father walked away from her life, disgust twisting his gaunt face, he never could forgive what she did.
He woke with tears in his eyes, after nightmares of leather splitting the skin on his back,
While she lay awake each night, clutching her aching belly.
His imagination gave him his only friend, who chased him down the halls. After colliding with a servant, spraying wine into the carpet, he was beaten until his screams went quiet. He never saw that friend again.
When the hunger brought her to her knees in the street with tears wetting her cheeks, strangers would throw a coin, clattering to the ground after reddening her forehead. She winced, they laughed.
Cruelty was the only life they knew. Abuse around every corner, malice behind every eye.
When she saw a child lying alone, with snow creeping up their back, she built a fire, and offered her bread. She slept hungry that night.
When his kid brother would cry, he kicked him again, chastising him for showing weakness. The weak could never survive.
She spent her nights building walls and a roof, until her back spasmed, and her fingers bled.
He learned that brutality inspired fear in his enemies, and his subjects alike.
The sign over her finished door read “Orphanage: a home for the abandoned, a light in the dark”,
As the hearth in his keep burnt down to ash, while he sat ruminating on his hate, in the shadows.
Soldiers stormed the orphanage, razing it to the ground, as he sat on his horse, sneering. The ugly blight on his land now dealt with.
Sorting through the ruin of her work, she salvaged where she could, and began to rebuild.
As his soldiers returned, she stood sentry at the gate.
“Where you born with this venom in your veins?”
“I’m a product of a cruel world”
“I am who I am, despite it.”
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