Tale: Feelings of a Dead Heart

“You’re so beautiful…”

Lenik sat up in bed and glanced to his right, where the Xentress was sleeping. He realised he’d uncovered her, so he delicately pulled the blanket over her exposed arms. They’d been sharing a bed now for a few days, ever since the Empress put Arkai under his protection, but something had been completely off about her.

Every little thing about the Xentress seemed slow and drugged. Much more than normal. She’d always been a slightly drugged little creature, they had to keep her medicated as it turned out she wasn’t as willing as she originally said she was. They’d had to up the drugs almost tenfold after it was discovered that her doctor was trying to kidnap her and smuggle her away to an unknown location.

The Temthan sniffed, then decided to get up. He considered pulling on some underwear, just something to cover his private parts, then decided he didn’t need to and lumbered to the bathroom, turning briefly to check that Arkai was still asleep. Not that he’d needed to check, she’d done pretty much nothing BUT sleep for the last seventeen hours. A drug overdose, the Empress told him. Just how many narcotics were they pumping into the poor thing?

No wonder she didn’t want to sleep with him.

Just as Lenik was about to climb in the shower, he heard a voice.


“Good morning, Xentress!” Lenik smiled as he approached. “Did you sleep well?”


“I am sorry, Xentress. Would you like a glass of water?”


Short, drugged sentences. Lenik remembered when she first arrived and was properly introduced into the religion, when Arkai was capable of a decent conversation. With a sigh, he fetched a glass from the bathroom and poured her a glass of slightly warm water. He handed her the glass as she sat up, her eyes still half-closed.

“S-she lied. She lied to me.”

Lenik was somewhat surprised by her actual words. “Who lied to you? Are you still asleep, Xentress?”

“Your leader. She lied.”
“What did she lie about?” Arkai’s words confused Lenik. She hadn’t spoken properly in days, and suddenly she was accusing the Empress of lying.

“W-when I… When I agreed. I asked one thing. Asked her not to harm us…” Her voice was laboured and quiet, punctuated by heavy breathing. “I told her I would serve as Xentress. As long as she left the Threans alone…”

“S-she promised you that she’d leave the Threans alone..?” Lenik hesitated, suddenly realising what was going on. “Well… Um… I am sorry no one told you…”

“… That our races. T-they get enslaved. Or die? No. No one said. B-betrayed. Again.” Arkai sipped her drink then handed the glass back to Lenik. She laid back down again, pulling the blanket over her head.

Lenik sighed. He should have told her. This always happened with Xentresses, and he’d lived alongside a few of them, all short-lived. Not wanting to continue the conversation, he stood up and wandered around looking for his underwear and official Raptoran garbs. Both he and the Xentress had to be present at the Empress’s speech to the nation soon, and he needed to look his best.

“Your kind won’t be killed!” Lenik tried to reassure Arkai. “The Empress doesn’t normally kill. The Threavok will most likely become part of the empire, same way the Drakai or the Tavrans are. Under our rule, but after we mind-control your population and get them following our religion, you’ll be left to your own devices.”

“T-the Threans will NEVER follow you! They are too stubborn and too few! Too weak to fight against twenty billion reptilian monsters!” Arkai shouted as she threw the blanket off her and onto the floor. “May Her Holiness forgive me… I have shamed my people… I have condemned my people to death! I… I…” Her brief exclamation quickly devolved into incomprehensible tears.

Lenik decided it would be better to calm the Xentress down. The Empress would not be amused if she were to have a breakdown during her speech. He glanced at the time, noting that she hadn’t had her normal supply of drugs for seven hours. She should have taken her next dose an hour ago.

“They won’t be harmed…”

“Yes they will… And it’s all my fault… I should have died out there…” Arkai whimpered, her breathing still heavy. “T-then none of this would have happened…”

“Arkai…” Lenik didn’t know what to say. Despite her weak, exhausted appearance, Lenik… loved her. He wanted her to be happy, not sad. “Arkai, you know I can’t do anything to stop the Empress…”

“I know… But…”

“But what?” Lenik sighed as he got up to ready Arkai’s medication. “You need your drugs. You’re… not thinking straight.”

Arkai sat up, her golden eyes raw from her tears, peering directly into Lenik’s soul. “Lenik, when all this is over, I will end my own life. Promise me you won’t try and stop me.”

Lenik stared at the Xentress, looked down at the syringe in his hand, then looked back up. The little Threan’s eyes were empty and cold. Just like every other Xentress before her, she was dead inside. Doomed to live the rest of her life trapped in a drugged up, zombie-like state.

Suddenly, in a single, swift movement, Lenik pinned Arkai down and injected the medication straight into her neck. After a few moments of squirming, Arkai relaxed completely, returning to her more pliable state, and falling asleep once more on the bed. In ten minutes, she’d wake up and not remember what had just happened.

With a sigh, Lenik rummaged through her small box of items, pulling out her ceremonial robes, and carefully started to dress her. Deep down though, something had changed.

“When all this is over, my beloved, I will help you end your life. It is the least I can do to put an end to your pain.”