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“I have known the emptiness.” Seated on the throne of the dying city of Charn the Empress Jadis looked on solemnly at her subjects. The war had lasted longer than she anticipated. She had no intentions of surrender. Her sister would enter the place soon. Now was her moment. Now or never.

Would she use “the words” the unutterable words? Those words had cost her so much already. In pursuit of these words she considered few things too depraved or beneath her dignity to commit. Yes,  she thought. I have known the emptiness. “And now you all will too!” With that she stood and spoken the words.

Time slowed to a halt. In that moment, whatever they were doing they would do forever. Seated, drinking from a gold goblet, gazing into the eyes of another. They would be frozen until time should be no more. Jadis, herself was frozen. Unable to move until someone hit the gong that hung from the wall with the little red hammer.

There she stood. The last Empress of a dying world. Yes. She now knew the emptiness.

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