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Now what? Those men fled in terror, as expected. But now this child is here, and I suddenly realize my recklessness. Ages of ruthless, meticulous planning led to my empire, and a thousand years of perfect manipulation, anticipation, and preparation ensured that my rule was never truly threatened. Now, my first act upon awakening from a great stupor was the first reckless act I have committed since that ancient past. I stand facing her, as she tries and fails to hide among the ruins, unsure of what to do for the first time since my childhood.

"DO NOT FEAR, CHILD"

What else could she do? The foolishness of my words were painfully awkward to me even as I spoke them. The terror she felt could be felt by the stone walls, it was so apparent. I had spent so long causing fear and awe that I didn't even know how to pretend to be non-threatening, let alone friendly.

Hm.

I did know how to lie though, perhaps that would work.

"I AM...A FRIEND"

The start of success, it would seem. The girl ceased clawing her way through the rubble in a panic and turned to look at me. Hopefully her tears made me seem less of a monster. I purposely chose to remain where I had initially landed in the courtyard; little is as horrifying as an undead god-king advancing towards you. The girl had begun to sneak through the rubble to get a better look at me. I decided to remain facing where she was originally - perhaps if she thought she had the upper hand, I would be less threatening.

"Who...what are you?" she asked, clearly still frightened. A complicated question, even if she didn't understand why.

Hm.

I have lived many lives, but now after so long the only legacy I had left to the world were mysterious and ancient ruins of my once-great empire. Perhaps my goals had been too lofty. Something new, this time.

"I AM YOUR GUARDIAN"

"Can you help my mom?" Yes, of course I could, but not in the manner she wanted. I didn't wake to simply follow my old path again.

"NO"

Another lie. Does lying to children harm them? Something to look into, perhaps.

"I WAS NOT HER GUARDIAN"

Speaking with her was easing her fear; she now stood only partially hidden behind a collapsed column to my side. I could clearly see her, but remained facing in the same direction. "So you will...protect me?" she asked, stepping out into the open at last.

"YES"

I turned to face her, and I suddenly found the exchange absurd. I, the conquering god-king of Asirian, scourge of the living, stood facing this tiny dark elf child in the ruined courtyard of a long-forgotten castle; while she stood looking up at me, the master of death, and was unafraid. The first person to see me in such a way in six thousand years. A new legacy suddenly occurred to me, something that countless ambitious fools had petitioned for during my rule.

"AND I SHALL BE YOUR TEACHER"