Taking A Stand

A jester, that’s what he was.

An entertainer, a joker, the court’s companion.  It was his job to make things lighthearted and entertaining.

He stood before his mirror, preparing for another gathering of the court.  His outfit was red, and he wished he’d gone with the black instead.  Or any other color for that matter.  The red was too bright, like the blood that stained the hands of every member at court.

Sometimes he saw his own hands stained with red.

He reached for his feathered hat and when he looked again in the mirror, it wasn’t himself–or even his room–in the reflection.

Instead he saw the children.

He saw the blonde-haired girl, only a few years older than the two little ones she shielded with her own body.  Her eyes were both fierce and afraid.  And there–behind them he saw the copper curls of a boy, his face frozen with terror.

And there–

There where his reflection should have been, he saw the oldest boy.  The one that had stood in front, hands shaking while holding his head high.  His mouth moved, but no sound came out.

There was no need.  The jester knew the words that had been spoken.

“We are not our parents, yet you condemn us for their mistakes, you plan to spill our blood.

No matter we were ready to heal.  To forget. 

Know this, we do not die willingly.  

Know this, we do not forget.

Remember well, we wait for you.

Darkness shall be your reign.”

He turned from the mirror before he could see what happened next.  Moisture lined his eyes as his memory showed him anyway.  The red pools on the floor, the small bodies limp and lifeless, the empty eyes that stared at nothing.

He had been forced to watch.

It was mere minutes later that they had called for him to lighten the mood.  To make a joke.  To make them forget the blood that clung to their skin.

And like the coward he was, he’d obliged.

His hands shook as he placed the hat on his head.  It had been a year ago today.  Not that anyone seemed to remember.  There was to be a frivolous party for the court.  Like it was a day for celebrating.  Like they felt like laughing.

Like that boy’s words didn’t still echo through the halls.

The jester straightened his tunic.  He’d had enough.  Red had been that terrible day, and red would be his clothes tonight.  He would not forget, nor would he cower as before. Quickly, he wiped away his tears and gave his reflection a savage smile.  Tonight the stage was his to command.

They demanded a show.  A show is what they would get.

The children will not have died in vain.

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