Heat in the Sod
by Rana Eros

The Good King was a made-for-tv movie in the early '90s which starred Jonathan Brandis as Wenceslas (yes, that Wenceslas) and Valentine Pelka (Kronos on Highlander) as Brother Paul. This is another one written for the 1001 Drabble Challenge, originally titled "Brother God" before I realized I was writing a series, and decided to take all the titles from the carol named for the king.

"Concentrate, little brother."

He doesn't flinch anymore at the word "brother," and he no longer expects to hear "Your Majesty." It's still disconcerting when there's a growl in that voice, when that face is split with a wolfish grin. Brother Paul would never have smiled like that, nor growled. Boleslaus would have done both, but Kronos does not look like Boleslaus, and Boleslaus was never this good with a sword.

Boleslaus needed help to kill him. Brother Paul would have struck off his own hand rather than do violence to his king. Kronos has killed him twice already today.

"Wenceslas," Kronos chides, "you're not paying attention. That's going to lose you your head someday."

Kronos punctuates the scolding with a strike at his heart. He manages to parry, but he's left with a thin slice across his chest. It stings a little as it heals, and he looks down at it.

"Do you ever wonder why God allows us to live this way?"

Brother Paul would have given the question grave thought, but Kronos only laughs and points his sword at the ground, crossing the distance between them. He slides his hand into the rent in the tunic, and presses his palm against unmarked flesh.

"I told you, little brother. We are the only gods who matter."

It's blasphemy, but he no longer flinches at that, either. Kronos leans in and kisses him, then pushes him to the ground. His clothes are cut from his body, the blade catching his skin. Kronos bends to lap up the blood before his Quickening burns it away.

It's a litany of things Brother Paul would never dream of doing. But Kronos is not Brother Paul, nor is he Boleslaus.

Kronos is just "brother," and Wenceslas is learning to appreciate what that now means.


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