When Came the Fire
Updated: Nov 17, 2020
Who assassinated Šarru Rabȗ? - one might ask. I, rather, asked the real question at hand: why? Why was his highness drinking so heavily that evening? Was he drinking away the fear and disdain he felt for his disloyal subjects, for they had come prepared to cast the first stone upon the corrupt government who hadn’t ensured the welfare of its massive community. The herd stood together in protest outside the palace chanting, “Eat the rich! Eat the rich!” Perhaps there was no guilty party - perhaps it was Šarru Rabȗ Osric IV himself who ended his life.
My name is Uliwyn of Sumer. It was my job to document the mystery, as well as provide the news of his highness's recent passing. I asked of the household to remain silent on the matter as of yet, for there was an investigation underway and I needed a cause of death to report to the masses. It would be their first question and they may've even wanted proof, but that I could not offer. The most feared, most feral king known to Mesopotamia appeared to have taken his own life, to spare himself the pain of when came the pitchforks and the torches. He knew he would be tortured the way he tortured others.
I wasn’t yet held in high regard and I hadn’t quite made a name for myself when Šarru Rabȗ Osric IV died suddenly, within his quarters, seemingly alone and holding in his left hand, a vial with mere traces of some alchemical compound that only a sorcerer could identify. I summoned one to question but still I waited here to meet with her and shed some light upon this enigma, and in the rain no less.
I crouched beneath the canopy of trees to shield me from the shower and quivered off the chill, the crisp bite to the air. When I spoke to the Šarru Rabȗ's men, they claimed sternly that no one had visited the Šarru Rabȗ’s quarters tonight. What a day to die! I scribbled down witness testimony on parchment paper, yellow and stiff and scratchy and the quill didn’t hold onto the ink as well as my other one.
“He said he wished to retire early for the evening and requested a glass of slightly warmed goats milk and an herbal tea concoction he usually had with his dinner. But tonight, he declined dinner. He just fell into sleep so quickly that my concern grew for him and I promised myself I’d come back to check on him, just a quick peek in to be sure he’s comfortable and relaxed. He typically stirs when he hears the door open.”
“And does he have a secret passageway, like the rumors?”
“He asked me to lock it. He said he won't be needing it where he’s going – his words, not mine.”