“I love you! I set you free! I would have given you everything. Etruia, please!” His lustrous voice cracked and for a blink my resolve wavered. I tugged at the cord that secured my long brown hair in a plain, but functional ponytail. It held tight. Blinking, I looked away, trying to lose myself in the beautiful red sunset that stretched like an ocean across the jagged horizon of the wilderness we were traversing. It was no good. I wished then, I hadn’t stopped to make camp. I wished I’d kept going and never rubbed that dammed lamp because I felt guilty; felt as barren as the twisted shrubbery surrounding us: remembering his kindness; the kisses that had sent my heart soaring… But for my people, I had to be strong; I must not falter, yet- I hated he was the one I’d reap my revenge from. He was not like the others. Over the last month as I’d set my trap and watched him walk right into it, I’d gotten to know him a little too well. He was a scholar, not a warrior. I knew he had a surprising amount of compassion for a royal off-spring of the race I hated the most. But… but I could not relent. He might me young; his infatuation with me might have been love; and he might have proven to be a better leader of the Elvern than any of his ancestors, but I could not have taken the chance. He happened to be the last of his lineage. But so was I. His father and his brothers had seen to that. Yes, he might be young – but he was of the same age as me and my twin, Bellaria, when she and my entire line, all my friends, servants, subjects, were taken from me in one of the Elvern ‘long games’ that my father had always warned us about.