I was a child when my father gave the war beast to me. Milos, I named him. Young, like I was, wide-eyed and just as unable to see what was in front of him.
My father had always been absent—the demands of the throne saw to that—but he had never been unkind, and so I chose to forgive him. Back then, he showed me affection by proxy and spared no expense in securing the best tutors and caretakers to watch over me. He lavished me with extravagant gifts. Milos was the one I appreciated the most.
Milos and I were nearly inseparable, and I would spend every possible moment with him, awake or asleep. I trained him. I fed him from my own plate. Even now, when I close my eyes, I can feel him curled up on top of my chest, his head buried in his paws, his lungs swelling with every breath as he slumbers and dreams.
Is it any wonder I grew to love him more than I did my father? Milos was my constant, loyal companion.
Until the day I returned from my studies to my room, and he was gone.
A servant handed me a gilded letter, penned by my father, explaining why he had Milos killed. I tore it to shreds, tears streaming down my face.
When I looked up, I saw the servant weeping, too, and I knew that she had been the one forced to do the deed. I took her hands in mine and said, "I forgive you."
Words that I swore Calus would never hear from me again.