With time, the Prince grew to covet the power that he had been given while his father and brothers were at war. The poison of jealousy began to course through his veins, gradually turning his once-noble heart green with envy.

When the Sultan at last returned from a campaign ten years long, one which had brought him to the very edge of the world, he was welcomed with open arms by the people. The Prince, seeing his power slip away, was driven to action. At a grand banquet for the returned rulers, he poisoned the water. Hundreds of guests, including the kingdom’s most experienced courtiers and generals, perished. The Sultan died as well, along with six of his seven sons.

But the Prince had acted in haste, not contemplating how his subjects would react. The death of so many could not be concealed, and the existence of a single survivor made his guilt evident. The palace guards stood aside as the populace swarmed the palace, clamoring for the Prince’s blood. He was forced to flee on horseback into the deepest desert in the realm while a distant cousin was elected Sultan in his stead.

Some say that the murderer died in the desert wastes, but most maintain that through dealings with the powers of evil, the greedy royal slumbers beneath the sands, waiting for the right time to return and stake his claim. The people never refer to him by name, which due to the enormity of his crime has been expunged from history. Rather, he is known only as the Prince with a Heart of Nephrite That Sleeps in the Desert.

Advertisements