The Glass Palace

The Glass Palace was at once both a testament to the wealth of the Cylitian Empire and the madness of its emperor. The outer walls were as thick as any other castle's and said to be even stronger than walls made of stone. However, all the walls and floors inside the structure were much thinner, and as a result, perfectly see-through. This allowed for one at the very top of one of the castle's towers to look straight down and see everything below. The effect was quite stunning, but with it came the cost of privacy, even for the emperor himself.

Being a servant in the Glass Palace, and a woman at that, Lilith always felt exposed and hounded by the stares of all those who came to the castle on imperial business, especially the men. She couldn't even begin to understand why the emperor would build a castle where even his bedchamber was visible from the entryway. Of course, he was mad, so it made a sort of sense. Still, she hated the man for not only having the servants quarters visible from most everywhere in the castle, but also not allowing any sort of curtain or shroud to be put up for privacy while bathing or dressing. In his madness, he claimed that he wanted to be able to keep an eye on everything that went on inside his castle for security, but Lilith couldn't help but wonder if he liked to spy on her and the other female servants while they were unclothed.

Other than this, Lilith could not complain too much about her life as an imperial servant. She was treated well for the most part, well fed, and well dressed. The emperor was not a cruel man, just paranoid and prone to bouts of raving, but Lilith knew it could be worse. Back in her homeland of Oreth, she had had many friends among the royal servants who would always tell of their ill treatment by the guards and the king when they displeased him. Lilith knew she ought to be grateful that the worst of her problems in the Glass Palace were people peeking in on her while bathing, but she knew she could never be content with her situation.

When the Cylitian Empire had swept in and conquered Oreth, few were killed, but near all were enslaved. Slaves have no rights except those given to them, and while she had been given many, all things considered, she was still a slave. This, more than the lack of privacy or forced relocation, was why she truly hated the emperor of Cylitia. His madness did not excuse him of his arrogance. His belief that the whole world should be his, was a bigger sin than any Lilith could think of. Be they cruel or just, no man should have dominion over all others.

And so, on one of the rare mornings where a heavy fog had come in from the sea to fill the Glass Palace, Lilith began making her way silently to the emperor's bedchamber. The fog made visibility inside the castle almost non-existent, which was both a good and bad thing for her. She would be able to make her way unseen to the bedchamber, as long as she didn't run right into a guard. Luckily, she knew the layout of the castle quite well and was at least somewhat familiar with the guards' patrol patterns. She was unsure how they might change it, if at all, for the fog, but she hoped she could avoid any unfamiliar patrols by listening carefully for their footsteps. So as not to scratch or otherwise damage the glass floors, the guards wore soft-soled boots, but their footfalls were generally heavy enough to make noise audible from a far enough distance.

Lilith sneaked past the lower-level guards with ease, but as she made her way up toward the emperor's bedchamber, the guards grew more numerous. By the time she had ascended the stairs to the level on which the bedchamber was, she was sweating from the stress. Getting to the bedchamber itself proved to be a thousand times more nerve-wracking, and required a good deal of tense waiting just outside of the multiple patrols' lines of sight. As she finally slipped into the room where the emperor slept, Lilith let out a shaky sigh of relief, and tuned her attention to the man laying in the massive four-poster bed.

He was talking in his sleep, mumbling something about crystals and magic. At first, Lilith assumed it to be the result of the fitful sleep of a madman, but upon glace around the room, noticed something she had never seen before. On the emperor's writing desk stood a rather tall and perfectly clear crystal. The crystal, in and of itself, was not out of place in the Glass Palace, but the faintly blue glowing symbols within the crystal were certainly out of the ordinary. Upon closer inspection, Lilith saw that the symbols were arranged in a perfect circle with one large symbol in the center. Next to the crystal, she found a note, written in the near illegible scrawl of the emperor. Having learned to read back in Oreth, Lilith quickly discovered that the note contained observations that the emperor had made concerning the symbols within the crystal.

Listening again to his mumbling, Lilith realized something that the emperor had been puzzling over in the note and in his sleep. She pressed her finger tip to the symbol in the middle and suddenly the symbols in the crystal changed, arranging themselves in a sort of list with smaller symbols appearing next to them, arranged in what seemed to be sentences. Lilith tapped the top-most symbol, which then grew in size, pushing out the other symbols in the list. The sentences that had been next to that symbol grew proportionately, and arranged themselves alongside the now large symbol. The first symbol in the first sentence then began to glow red, and Lilith made to tap it, but as soon as she did, her mouth made a sound she had never thought was possible for a human being to make. Despite this strange involuntary action, she felt compelled to move her finger to the next symbol. As soon as she did, she made another inhuman noise and the symbol turned red. She then began dragging her finger along the symbols, making more disturbing sounds with her mouth, but upon reaching the last symbol in the sentence, the large symbol turned red, and without really thinking, Lilith pressed her whole hand to it. immediately her hand ignited, but Lilith didn't scream. She knew what to do, and with a twisted smile on her face, she turned her flaming hand toward the emperor and roasted him alive.

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