The Hero, Beheaded

A few months ago, a mass story event was invaded by a group of people who were later banned for fourteen days from participating in future mass story events. The event was about a soldier who climbed to the top of some ruins, looked like she was about to say something, then she chopped off her head and held it up to the sky, floating in the air above her body. Then, everyone who was witness to this event was banned for fourteen days and when they returned, the soldier was no longer there. Instead, she was made into iconography.

The story I'm about to tell you is a version of what happened.

The Emperor was at war with the Most-Eastern Kings, who had failed to hand over their territory and possessions to the Emperor when the Last Most-Eastern King died. The Emperor believed he was entitled to these territories by a treaty signed with the Last Most-Eastern King. However, the current King did not recognize the treaty and the Emperor had to take the territories by force. During the conflict, the Emperor faced a revolt in the East led by important members of his administration, including The Sword, who was once the hero of the Emperor's Western campaigns, and the Twist-Neck Seal, who was previously involved in a rebellion against the Emperor. The historians who documented the revolt wrote about the uncertainty surrounding the future of the empire and what qualities an ideal emperor should have.

The revolt was put down within a year. The Sword and the Twist-Neck Seal quarrelled over the future of the empire, and the Emperor took advantage of their division. He sent them both letters, persuading them to return to their loyal service and betray each other. The Sword was persuaded but the Twist-Neck Seal was not. Instead, the Twist-Neck Seal had The Sword murdered. The headless bodies of the Twist-Neck Seal and The Sword were displayed to the Emperor's troops.

Beheading is a humiliation ritual that is often used during genocides and total war. The next time the Soldier appeared in public, she was beheaded and had been made into iconography, used as a targeted advertisement for a new release divination deck. You could see her as a holograph splashed across your eyes when you walked past the shop downtown that sold divinatory tools, cacti, and overpriced lost-wax cast jewelry. On her right, there was a bloodied rose, and on her left, the desert as ruin.

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