Ad Vitam Aeternam (For All Time)

Prologue: The Punishment

He was shoved forward.


He glared at the man before him, the fool on the throne. He would never bow to this man.

"I said bow!" The guard behind him hit the back of his knees. With a grunt, he fell. His hands splayed out automatically to catch him. Now he was in a correct posture. He clenched his fists and looked up to the man.

He wasn't kingly in countenance. His mustache and goatee were cut perfectly, of course, and his dirty-blond hair was immaculately cut, and his clothing was as glamorous and pompous as one may expect of a king. Yet still, the man was not regal.

"Anakin, you have had thoughts above your station, haven't you?"

No, this man was no king. But Anakin knew better than to speak such thoughts. "How so, Your Highness?" For he would never call this man his king. He didn't lower his glare.

"You believe yourself to be the best in this kingdom."

"Your Highness, I am the-"

The man slammed his palm on the arm of the throne. "That is not the point! Anakin, you have taken your liberties for granted in my kingdom."

What liberties? Anakin thought, but again said nothing.

"You have begun to strain against my will. I am your king and your master. Perhaps it is about time that you understood the value of your rank."

"What do you mean, Your Highness?"

"I mean," the man said, "to truly understand the value of your position, you must understand what you have."

Anakin wanted to snarl. "Your Highness?"

"And the only way to understand what you have is by living without."

For the first time, Anakin felt a shimmer of fear. If his position was taken from him, his plans would never be able to be put into operation. Worse, the only thing he had would be gone.

He lowered his head, afraid of what his eyes might show.

"You will spend a year in another world."

Anakin flinched in surprise. "Your Highness?"

"There are teenagers there, of course. And you will serve one."

Anakin's eyes narrowed as he sifted through the information. Just as he's suspected, the man didn't know. But still...

"Thus, for this year I bind thee to that one teenage boy, to be his servant, to have no freedoms but that which are given you. And never may you leave that boy's side."

Anakin grimaced. This punishment, was it? Someone from behind stepped forward, and Anakin recognized the movement as the start of the ritual. Never to leave a master's side, never to be or gain anything... inevitably, the master gains a sense of superiority and tortures the slave relentlessly until the day comes when he may return. Always the man is cowed, always he is afraid of those higher than him. It wasn't a lesson in what one had, but rather a warning of what the king could do if he saw fit to do so.

Anakin knew well what was coming. He wouldn't let himself be cowed. He would continue his plans in a year.

Of course, a year could be a very long time.

"Give me the Collar."

Anakin's teeth clenched.

"Anakin, stand."

He stood. He wouldn't run.

The man was holding an intricate Collar, black with red veins. On the front was a catch, in which a chain could be placed. If his owner wanted, he could tug Anakin around like a dog. A squire stood beside the king, a large pillow in his hands. On it, two similar bracelets sat, waiting for their turn.

"Here I submit you, Anakin Blackburn, to Caius Richardson of Earth. This Collar will act as witness to my will. Restrain."

With a red glow, the cool metal shifted to form firmly around Anakin's neck.

The king turned and picked up the bracelets. "These will bind your will to that of your master's and act as witness to your submission. Restrain."

And the bracelets latched tightly to his wrists.

"Thus you are bound, Sir Anakin of Blackburn. Your world, from hence to this day next year, shall be Earth, and your sun the boy named Caius. For that year you are that boy's slave, his servant and his toy. Maybe then you will realize your pitiful existence in my kingdom."

Anakin's nails bit into his palms.

"Now go. Arrive in your new world."

The Collar and Bracelets glowed brightly once more, covering Anakin's body in red light. He glanced into the man's eyes. The usurper's cruel brown gaze was one of utter triumph.

Shit, he realized with horror. He knows.