Title: Empire of Ash
Note: World falls apart.

I stand on this shore, while the city burns. The ocean waves hello, whispers goodbye. Gulls screech above my head, calling memories from my heart.

My world, this empire is ending. Like a massive beast, wounded from the neck, it dragged itself through war and death and growth for years until its legs crumpled. It toppled, fell, and crushed the ground beneath its frame. The death of it has flattened communities, lives beneath its weight.

All that's left is ash.

My body feels old, like my soul has turned to brittle clay. Slowly, I turn and bend. My knees creak, pop as I kneel before what is left of this place.

I run my fingers through ash, through dirt, through pieces of clay and stone and mortar. Supports weaken, columns buckle, and buildings fall around me.

My empire...I cover my eyes with my stained hands.

I have bled for this city, made it bleed in return. Now it burns, turns to ruin about me. I can still hear my people screaming, crying for salvation and finding none.

Just let this fire consume me. I would lay down and be swallowed whole, but the fires dance away, licking over the rubble and does not bother me. Not even flame can bring itself to bring me down.

Not even the all consuming fire will swallow whole the emperor of an empire of ash.