Orbsen thought back over his long life.  It was punctuated by days that were now celebrated by the citizens of the country he ruled.  His birthday.  The day he was formed.  The day he was named the Trueborn Heir.  The day he was crowned the emperor.  The day he married his wife.  The births of each of his children.  These were all named national holidays by virtue of being associated with him.

 Orbsen was certain that this date would be another national holiday – if not one that was celebrated with joy.  He struggled to keep his head over the mire that dragged at his limbs.  A clinical detached part of him worried that his courtiers would take advantage of his son and heir.  The boy was even more a child than he had been when he became emperor.  Another part imagined the grand funeral procession that would bring his body back to Tirna Nog to be buried.

 When he’d left the Capital to meet with each of his lords, he never expected to be caught in one of the less common dangers of the wilds.  His guards would watch over him, he’d assured his family.  He looked around and saw that most of them had already disappeared beneath the surface of the mire.  Those recently departed were marked by bubbles that popped as they reached the surface.  Those who’d been gone longer seemed to bob back to the surface.

 “Orbsen!” a familiar voice called out.  The young emperor turned to find King Arawn standing with several men at the edge of the mire.  “Hang on,” the other monarch called over.  “Help is on the way.”

 “Hurry,” Orbsen called back.  He would be rescued and not share the fate of his men.  This day would still be remembered, however.  He would see to that.

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