[CW: violence and blood]
June 22, 2022
Hildstan sat uncomfortably in the back of the armored car that had brought him to King Square. He looked out the thick bullet proof glass at the crowd that was forming in the square. There was a podium situated in the middle of the crowd on an elevated platform, so that everyone in the crowd could see their leader. Everyone loved him, he was the one who liberated them from imperial rule, he drove out the Korćettans with sheer force of will, but he never actually did any of this. During the war Hildstan just sat in a bunker in the capital of the nation, cowering in fear, while the citizens of his nation were fighting for their lives, including his own daughter. Now everyone in the nation saw him as a hero. He had to hold up this face for the sake of everyone.
Hildstan let out a sigh and opened the door of the vehicle, where his security was waiting for him. Each of the guards was holding a gun, empty of course, at Hildstan’s own request. Hildstan just wanted to scare potential enemies, not harm anyone. As they approached the podium, Hildstan began to feel an uneasy sense of dread deep in the pit of his stomach. All these people under his rule, he never meant to be a leader, he never wanted this. As Hildstan got to the podium he straightened his tie and looked at the cameras that faced him. These would broadcast to everyone in the nation. The thought of millions of people watching Hildstan caused sweat to bead on his forehead. He reached to grab his handkerchief, which he couldn’t find. As he patted himself down, he got more and more frantic. Things can’t go wrong now Hildstan thought to himself, as the crowd started to grow restless from this show of mental distress. Eventually one of Hildstan’s guards approached the leader, “Here you go sir, I found it on the seat of your car.”
Relief washed over Hildstan’s face as he reached out to grab his handkerchief, “Thank you… what was your name again.”
A smile crept onto the woman’s face, “The name’s Arleta Kazimir.”
“Well, thank you for your help, I was getting a little nervous back there,” Hildstan said while taking his handkerchief from his guard, but she wouldn’t let go.
Then, as if the world had gone into slow motion, Hildstan saw Arleta slowly raise her gun to point at his chest. “Long live Korćetta,” she said before squeezing the trigger and firing two shots in Hildstan’s chest and one into her own head.
As the shots rang out across the plaza, the people went silent for a moment before turning to total anarchy. People ran out of the plaza, trampling over others, trying to get as far away from the travesty that had just been unraveled before their own eyes. Hildstan’s guards quickly surrounded the wounded leader, one of who picked him up and headed towards the armored car that had brought them here. The others called frantically on their radios, trying to make order of the mess that had just happened. Throughout all of this Hildstan couldn’t make out a single word. All he could focus on was the searing pain running throughout his body and the warm feeling of blood soaking his clothes. As his vision began to fade, he managed to catch one word spoken by his guard, a name, “Sæswið”. Sæswið, he thought, what a beautiful name.
June 22, 2022
Sæswið sat on the old, torn leather couch in the living room of her father’s apartment, staring blankly at the TV sitting in front of her. A shattered glass of watcher laid at her feet, soaking into the wooden floorboards. Tears were streaming down her face, as her eyes were glued to what was unfolding in front of her. That was fake she convinced herself it had to be fake. Sæswið saw as her father, drenched in blood, was carried away from the view of the camera. Suddenly, there was a loud knock at the door that caused Sæswið to jump up from where she was sitting, lodging the small pieces of broken glass in the sole of her left foot. As she moved towards the door, ignoring the pain shooting through her foot, she grabbed a knife from the kitchen. As she cracked open the door, the face that met her was a familiar one, Hipolit Cichosz, her father’s advisor. He looked at her with a grim look, “May I come in?”
Sæswið didn’t say anything, but slowly opened up the door until there was enough room for Hipolit to come in. Hipolit was a tall, bald man, he had a big, white mustache that covered most of his mouth, with a big pot belly to pair it with. He walked in and as he did, closed the door behind himself. He pulled himself a chair at Sæswið’s dining table before sitting down. “Come, take a seat,” Hipolit said, motioning to the chair at the other end of the table.
Sæswið slowly walked towards the table, trying not to put too much pressure on her left foot. She sat down and stared down the man across from her, tears still glistening in her eyes. “I’m sure you saw what happened,” he said, keeping eye contact, “I’m sorry for your loss.”
Sæswið opened her mouth, “H-how did this happen,” she managed to squeak out.
“One of your father’s trusted guards turned out to be a Korćettan in disguise,” Hipolit said, in a monotone voice, free from any hints of sadness or any emotion, “We believe that they gained his trust by pretending to be one of our soldiers during the war.”
Sæswið didn’t say anything, she just stared down at the table, wishing for this all to just be a bad dream, for her to wake up in bed and to find her father in the kitchen making breakfast. As she was sulking, Hipolit continued to speak, but what he said fell on deaf ears. Sæswið didn’t intend on listening to anything that this man had to say, especially so soon after her father’s death. Although, one thing managed to catch her attention, “You are now the leader of this country, you need to show the strength your people need from a leader, especially in these times.”
Sæswið slowly looked up to face Hipolit, her eyes red and bloodshot. The leader of this country…? The leader of Zachodnipaństwo…? were the only thoughts that ran through Sæswið’s mind at that moment. She opened her mouth and tried to conjure up something to say to this man who had just declared her the leader of her country, but all she could do was nod.