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With my shiny new friend at my side, the days got better. We became inseparable. He slept in my bed, woke with me, accompanied to do my chores, and sat with me during lessons. He fought at my side, or mock against me, for combat training.

The years flew by like hands on a clock. Each tick a day. My loneliness had been curved, so I set my mind to other ideas. I wondered what the future would hold for me.

“Some day you’ll have to face the Emperor,” Victoria would tell me. 

She was grooming me to rule in his stead. She was certain that some day I would face him down and take his place. How she got that idea is beyond me.

Sure, my card was the wheel. I am a promise of change. And yes, she is an inverted heirophant. She is counter-culture, a teacher, a harbinger of changer herself.

That is, if you believed in all of this destiny stuff. She believed it so thoroughly that she was risking her life every day that she harbored me. I often wondered, if I had been just some other child to be slaughtered, someone destined to sell wares or marry for money, if she would have saved me. The truth is, I don’t think that she would have. I believe that in her mind, she was born for the sole purpose of raising me.

I suppose that alone makes a good case for destiny. Her card, my card, our paths finding each other. Still, without knowing other people, I had nothing to base my beliefs on other than what Victoria told me. If I had any reason to doubt that my destiny was laid out before, it was only because I didn’t want it.

Who was I to take a life? To slay the evil Emperor and save the city? Who was I to know any better than he did? Beyond that. Why should I risk my own life to save a culture full of people who would have never cared that I was murdered as a baby? Or, at least, who didn’t care enough to not be ignorant of such going ons.

There were the merchants, like my parents. The people who sold me. Who didn’t fight for me. Who cared more about the almighty coin than their flesh and blood.

I was seventeen, and these thoughts had thickened into truths. No, I wasn’t exactly lonely any more. But I was angry. I was mad about my lot in life and I wanted nothing more to rebel against it.

The night that Victoria died, I fell asleep thinking just that. I wanted to get away from this house, from her, from my supposed destiny. But not like that.