Edgar Sat on His Throne and Thought
I often think about that day. The day my father died, that is. It's rare for one to be able to spot a cross-road in one's life. Rarer still for one to be able to choose the path to take. My brother chose one road, and I took the other by default. So they say.
Sure, we're twins, but to be honest, he's the older one. Older by a few minutes. Or perhaps seconds? I'm not sure, and neither is anybody else. For all intents and purposes, we were born simultaneously. Except, of course, when it came to the matter of the throne.
Father believed in tradition and birthright. If he only had enough strength to speak from his deathbed, he would have named my brother. I suppose, then, that it was all for the better that he didn't. He never spoke of the subject at all, in fact, except through slips of the tongue, and the looks in his eyes. Hence the confusion when he finally departed from us.
My brother didn't want the throne, I know. To this day, he is grateful that father never clearly named his heir. I am grateful as well. We would never have disobeyed father's explicit orders. I would never have had a chance to choose my life. My brother thought he was the one who chose, and I'm sure that he still carries a bit of guilt about his decision. But, truth be told, I was the one who chose.
Did I choose to let my brother choose? No, not even that, really. But first let me put it the way he sees it. Out of brotherly love, I chose to let my brother pick his life. And I, the younger brother, quietly accepted his decision and carried the burden he couldn't bear.
And now let us see things from a different perspective. Oh, I really do have a way of understanding people. My brother had no choice at all. He didn't want the throne, but he and I both knew that father wanted him to take it. Because he saw it as a burden, he thought I did too. He couldn't bring himself to ask me to take it. He was afraid that I would say no. Even as the ministers worried over who would be king, my brother only talked about father's death. He didn't want to admit that he knew who father wanted to be king. He didn't want to answer their question, because he didn't like the answer.
Poor brother. What anguish he must have gone through. He was afraid to speak his mind, but I knew the way he thought. He wanted to leave. It was up to me whether I would allow him to give me the throne. Oh, but kind brother that he was, he wouldn't have let me take it if I had only asked. He would have told me it was for me to carry, that he would rather suffer the burden of being a king that I might be free. Ha.
And so we come to that famous coin toss. Heads or heads? Your choice, brother. Hardly. It was that illusion of chance, or fate, that gave my brother the excuse he needed to escape. Oh, he was quite sorry about it. For a long time, he wouldn't stop writing letters and worrying about me. Really.
Of course he was worried. He didn't know the first thing about being a king. He spent his entire life trying to forget his birthright. I know that before father's death, he had looked at me with envy. He didn't know I looked at him the same way. To be cheated by a few minutes! A few seconds, even!
Thanks to a little novelty item I picked up, I have won a life for myself. My brother has his freedom, and he is happy. Myself, I have my kingdom, and I am happy. My kingdom. I shall rule it well, as my father would have wanted, as my brother could never have done.
Author's Note: Does anyone know who really is the older brother?