As I walked into the room, I knew it was a trap. The long mahogany table with only two places set for dinner, a chair at both ends. Only the three candelabras bring any gleam of light into the stone dining room. She never sets the table for dinner. Seeing her stand beside her chair as I walked to my own, I knew it was a trap. She gave me her best fake smile. She was too good at those.
“Hello dear, I hope you had a productive day,” she says as we simultaneously sit down, locking my fate.
I do not day anything in return.
She keeps going, “Well darling, let’s make a toast,” her glass goblet glimmered in the firelight, “to your successful reign, may it continue for generations. May we now both enjoy this fine wine made for us in our victories.”
I look down at my own glass, seeing the dark purple liquid swirl around as my own stomach swirls around. This is a trap. I know she’s staring at me. I know she is anticipating the moment I am buried under the ground. With no heir, no children, she would be put in such a place of power. I should have known that was what she wanted all along, but I was so blinded by my optimistic denial. Everyday I told myself I could have changed her heart, make her caring of the citizens of Palisti, but no, a witch at heart will always be a witch.
There was a time we were happy together, or at least I thought we were. We would sit around the bonfire on the shore. With other members of the court, we would watch the hired performers and magicians complete feats unthinkable by average human standards. She would giggle and all felt right with the world. The way her dark hair cascaded down her back, the way her brown eyes seemed to glow in the firelight, it all made the world perfect. Warmed by the fire and her laugh made me feel more than just a leader, but a human being. But even then, I knew she was smart. That was how I came to love her, she was always quick witted in speech and wise in numbers. However, several times she would go behind my back and make decisions without my knowing. She never showed interest in children so I never pushed her no matter how much I wanted to little versions of her running around the ballroom. She continued pushing bills and signing papers without my knowledge. This was only a matter of time.
“B-Before that,” I finally stammer. Maybe I could stall, but she was far too clever for that. I make direct eye contact with her, I can see her calculating stare. As if challenging me, she knew every possible outcome. I know she knew that, I finally continue, “may whatever happens after tonight, I have done something good for this world. I will not spend my last moments breathing to spite my only devoted wife, but instead, will thank the gods for the life I have been able to live. All I can do is give my life to my people, and if that isn’t enough . . . I’m sorry.”
Without looking back, I sip the wine.
I realize after that sip, that it was poison.
After that sip, I knew it was a trap.