He looked down at their faces. Worried and weary. His own: worn and wary.

He stared at them. They stared back, eyes expectant. So he spoke.

“Lord, we thank you for this glorious day. For the gifts you have blessed us with.” Murmuring. He cleared his throat quietly. “On this day, a day that will bring future joy and triumph, we ask you to bless our soldiers. Protect them in their fight for You, for Truth, for glory. Grant them strength and courage and the ability to lead as well as follow,” he said, pointedly, arching his brow. “Steel their hearts with you love as they fight for the greater glory of your kingdom. Keep them close to your heart and farm from harm. Bring them home, we pray, in your name.”

The crowd took its cue, and an assent of “amen” echoed off the buildings surrounding the square.

He sank into his lush velvet chair, bothering not with posture nor piety. Hands clasped beneath his chin, he spoke.

“Slaughter them all.”

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